In China they understand what a blink a century is
an elder coughs out a millennium
spits its phlegm par terre
languages muddle into each other
mint and sugar in a cocktail we no longer drink
in this brown high country

They’re iichíile here
that languid herd beast on the horizon
the Apsáalooke are a horse tribe, the kind
Kevin Costner fantasizes about
beads, tipis, you know the romance
changed so fast, like sandstone breaking
tumbling into powder from the rims

“We’ve been here forever,” the boy says
when he means 75 years, 150 at most
Civil War refugees rolled up from the lowlands
filthy, wide-eyed, stunned to be alive
bonnets and wagon wheels
transformed into icons in an instant

What’s permanent is the grass
what lasts is the sky
fat prairie dogs will cluck beside the deer path
long after the supervolcano has blown
the brown squirrel will paw through our ashes
for the last acorn dropped
by the last oak imported by the white folk


About Carrie La Seur

Carrie La Seur is a recovering environmental lawyer and author of two critically-acclaimed novels. Her stories, essays, book reviews, law review articles, and poetry appear in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Guardian, Harvard Law & Policy Review, Salon, and more. Find her latest at carrielaseur.com, on Facebook and @claseur on Twitter and Instagram.

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