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On the chinese wall

Navajo Springs

for James Peshlakai Three birds leave a tamarisk tree, three birds as if they are one, and the flick of a lizard into a crackled boulder, quickest motion, like the stone's mouth, like its tongue. This lizard licks uranium tailings leaching from the mine into the water above Moenkopi Village When the government standards are read at the public hearing: Place an earth and cememt cap over the tailings that will last for a thousand years, the company men smile slightly: A thousand years? We won't be here, this company. Why, even this government... A small man from the village raises his hand: A thousand years, he says. We'll be here. We buy corn from a man selling Navajo Bibles too, Bibles mixed in with corn the color of sky tumbled in the back of his truck. Home, he says, is a clean heart, is turquoise washed by rain for a thousand years.

from On the Chinese Wall - New & Selected Poems 1966 — 2018

On the Chinese Wall by Roger Dunsmore

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