A History Lesson
by Helen Ruggieri

the shape of the land has been so distorted
it's hard to distinguish, but I look:

imagine the land sloping down to
the river; ignore the levee.

imagine Kings Brook not banked
in concrete, but running into the river

imagine this field not a dump
for waste from the Tile plant

imagine it lower and look for the
significant swell of an earthen mound

aligned to center on the dip in
the two hills across the river

look for the top of an ancient mound
covered by milkweed pods, ryegrass,

queen Anne's lace, burdock, elderberry
shrubs, goldenrod, sweet clover

imagine that once it rose above
the flat land along the river bank

imagine we don't recognize
the holy unless experts tell us

imagine we have heaped trash
on our past, bulldozed our inheritance

imagine we are corporate savages
no love but for money, expediency

imagine we have no reverence,
no myth, our cathedrals corporate towers

like the land we are so distorted
we are hard to distinguish

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