Wars of Attrition
Mapping out territory
my older cousin
in the scrub brush behind our granny’s house
locked in a dog crate, five years old,
Nine years ago, I taught her oldest child
how to write her name
on the back of a grocery list.
My hand huge over her crayon
Paper plastered across her boxy little torso
like a peace treaty
as she galloped through the living room.
I was teaching seventh grade when my cousin died,
sugar gumming up her system
like a glinting trail of dried snot.
Unable to focus,
flitted over the Cascades
past a lake full of tree trunks
poking up like rotten molars
landed in Eastern Washington
next to my grandmother’s backyard—
next to my cousin’s red curls.
A map is not a neutral document,
one of my students parroted
And I muttered
From Tributaries (University of Arizona Press, 2015). Copyright © 2015 by Laura Da’. Used with the permission of the author.
Laura Da’ is the author of Instruments of the True Measure, which is forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press in 2018, and Tributaries (University of Arizona Press, 2015). She lives near Seattle, Washington.
Date Published: 2017-10-18
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/wars-attrition