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But We Are Still Here

The babies on our backs can’t know
what’s left behind. The muddy shores where quahogs wait
to be pried from their mooring, the forests
of home no longer home. I was a brick-layer

gone south, for better work—I was an Antone
but too woman to keep it, so much and so little
of blood. It’s earth you walk on, lined with greed.
It’s just history—if you bleed on it, it’s yours. It’s just

land, so walk on it. It’s just a neck, so walk on that, too.
But you who freedom-yearn, on the Edge of the Woods
we welcome. We wipe your eyes of the long walk dust,
that you may see the generations ahead. We offer safe passage,

though Turtle’s back is shrinking, still. We protect the water,
what remains, because we, too, know thirst—and endure.

    • Listen: Kenzie Allen reciting But We Are Still Here
Kenzie Allen

Kenzie Allen

Kenzie Allen is a descendant of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. She is currently an Advanced Opportunity Program Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s PhD in English & Creative Writing ...