by Wendy Babiak

The spicebush and Korean lilac
have been done doling out 
their golden coins. Now in the wind 
sugar maple and box alder leaves 
rain down relentless as the bombs 
butchering babies in Gaza.

I sit here heartbroken and safe 
upstairs in my yellow chair. 
Where does a person go with no 
homeland? The dispossessed 
of Turtle Island did not disappear 
except in the settler imagination.

Mohicans, even, are still here. 
Palestine and the Palestinian people 
pre-existed the concept of 
the nation state…and innit time 
that idea died, that social construct 
was deconstructed? Dang, but it’s so 

last millenia. We can see the planet 
from space–your borders are imaginary, 
oh bonehead nationalist (of whatever
nation). I wonder if the astronauts flinch,
up in the International Space Station,
every time they see a bomb flash, 

left wondering how many more 
children’s bodies now bleed,
broken in the rubble. (If they 
let the tears fall, will they 
get in trouble?) Oh, let us all understand
ourselves and each other as kin, 

with one race, the human one, 
and discover our more-than-human 
kin’s wisdom. Look how cardinal flower
and sweetgrass share space 
in my garden, how the mourning 
dove cleans the ground, fed by the mess 
made from above them by goldfinches

and chickadees searching for their
favorites in the mixed seed. 
Let us bow to how bison circle 
when the wolf pack comes, 
the young and other vulnerable 
protected in the middle. Baldwin said:
The children are always ours, 
every single one of them, 
all over the globe; and I am 
beginning to suspect that whoever 
is incapable of recognizing this 
may be incapable of morality.

Outside, the bare trees expose a dismal
sky; Grandmother cedar thrashes
in the wind. In my heart I can a hear 
the soul of the planet groan.
Someone needs to give Israel 
a heart on loan.

Wendy Babiak identifies as two-spirit and uses the pronoun We:  We sent CONSPIRACY OF LEAVES out into the world over ten years ago in the hopes that it might spur humans to recognize each other. We wanted to help humanity see the sacred personhood of trees, but how could it, when it doesn’t even know its own soul? And now Israel lays another stepping stone on the path that began in the Stone Age when men first turned their clubs and spears on each other. We watch heartbroken from the safety of our home in upstate NY while yet another genocide takes place and our ancestors who endured and survived their own demand we speak. We love several Jewish people and we curse Netanyahu and his cohort for making them less safe. 

Leave a Reply