Today's poem is by Terry Ann Thaxton

History of America

On the boat the men drank whatever the women poured
while the women buoyed up the heads of sick children,
and then they were peeling corn, and potatoes rose from
the earth. I never paid attention in school. Didn't understand

the purpose of history. Or science. Women sharpened knives
not knowing they could be used against them. There was a table
and probably not a turkey—which is something I learned
only recently. And then some men fought with swords.

It all started at a rock. Then some guy with white hair wrote out
his hope for his neighbors, absent of a queen hovering over
his bookshelf. There might have been women, too, who wanted
to wear their dresses as short as I did when I was a young girl.

But it wasn't until the 1800s when I started paying attention,
and only because of a small cabin in the woods built
by a man who wanted nothing to do with this country. There
were women who hid words in their panties drawer, words

not discovered until they were dead, like witches flying above a man
ashamed of his own past. After the rock, our ancestors dispersed
into the wild west where whores sprouted from behind rocks and men
of course had to pay to see breasts, and so guns were created to save

our freedom. My sixth-grade teacher taped the evolution poster
to our classroom door—but only because, she said, the county
forced her to. Otherwise, I would never have seen the parade of apes,
the men, following each other into history.

Copyright © 2018 Terry Ann Thaxton All rights reserved
from Mud Song
Truman State University Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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