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Thanksgiving Quandary
by Ed Bennett

The children in the Pilgrim clothes
begin the play for doting parents
who've planned the Turkey Feast,
the pies, the cider, the joy.

A pious day of prayers and thanks,
the flags and parades commence
each spectacle on every boulevard –
land of the free, home of the brave.

I will light a candle, pray
for the ancestors who crossed,
built their monuments
in sweat and bartered blood

yet hold my second self apart,
a stoic moment stolen from
rewritten history, forgotten gifts from
those they met on the new world shore.

Anointed people begged their bread
from my pagan fathers,
blessed them with a stereotype,
bathed them in their blood.

Those Pilgrims built a colony while
Massasoit's children were slain
for God's greater glory and
their avarice for stolen land.

We gather together at a troubled feast,
begged with Lazarus for the crumbs
while they marched us, slaughtered us,
then polluted what they took.

They march, these Pilgrim progeny,
heads high in righteous candor
and memories free of the moment
of shrunken bellies that first winter.

They feel blessed, who rule this country
with proper prayers and sanctioned belief;
we primitives pray to wind and spirits
but we never hung our God on a tree.


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