Today's poem is by Pamela Alexander

Easter Island

Strangers on wooden islands
brought beads and knives. And hats!

We snatched them off heads
and they called us thieves.

Then they made sickness
so that many of us died.

Our forest sickened too,
the fat palms dwindling.

We measured the ships
with string, with steps, made

prayer huts that size
to call the new powers.

Built mounds of earth
with narrow ends, dug moats

around them, put up
poles and cloth.

More ships. From them ran
small animals with pink tails

that multiplied like ships
and ate saplings and seeds.

We couldn't kill enough of them.
We did what we could: sailed

our dirt decks, sang to the sky
and to our stone gods.

Still the forest left us.
Now we are few.

Strangers in metal boats
bring a little money

and tell us our bare island
is talked about in many places

and we're famous for this:
killing all our trees.

Copyright © 2016 Pamela Alexander All rights reserved
from Copper Nickel
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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