THAT LOOK

She stares at the menu,
her eyes incandesce brighter
than an eight year old’s should be able.
And I can eat everything
on the menu, she says to herself,
her smile broadening, as she thinks
and they may enjoy it too, and I
can move them one more step
in the right direction.
She has been a vegetarian
for six months, since the day
she declared to the waiter
that she would never again
eat a dead animal, and she
has held to it without fail since.
She says her father is almost
a pescatarian, and she whispers
in an aside that close to vegetarian
and an easy move once you are there.
Her four year old brother laughs
and says today I’m vegetarian too,
and the waitress laughs and thinks
in a vegan restaurant,
that is a universal truth.

GONE

The salmon people
don’t live here anymore
you have moved them
up the river, then inland
so they no longer need to wander.

The salmon
do not swim here anymore
you have dammed the rivers
to draw out their power
and penned the mighty fish
where the river first licks the sea.

The eagle doesn’t
fly here anymore
the great pines
that sat for generations
below his aerie are now
cut into neat supports
on which we hang our walls.

Our children
do not run here anymore
they have moved
to the cities, have gone off
to wars for fighting
is the only job
which they are given.

We have no rivers
we have no salmon
we have no sons, save those
who sleep under neat white stones.
We look for the eagle
a mighty spirit
but he, too, has been claimed
by the others
to decorate their buildings.
We have only our spirit
to guide us and we know
that soon you will claim them too
and leave us as you arrived
to repeat the sad story.