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Poem-A-Week

i tell the land
by karo ska

you deserve better. you deserve more than 

leaky pipelines crisscrossing your heart, 

nuclear reactors spewing atomic waste

 

into your lungs, pesticides seeping into

your skin. you deserve more than a species 

who thinks they need money more than you. 

 

every month, i pay rent & enable 

your theft. i dream of co-ops & no-cost 

housing, of vegetable gardens & open-air 

 

free markets. dear land, how do we 

evict an empire? how do we fight 

guns with words & bricks? how

 

do we recover your magic our bulldozers, 

gmo’s & aerosols destroyed? 

i keep writing, searching 

 

for the incantation to set you free.

i tell you, i need more time, but 

time is running out at the speed 

 

of glaciers melting. i press my palms 

into your dirt, splaying my fingers, a holy 

invocation -- a prayer. i tell you, i see 

 

your future. a future of ready-to-pluck 

berries, their juices painted on the lips 

of the people who dared to dream

 

of a land without dollar signs.

you breathe. a wind frollicks

in the tresses of my hair, a leaf

 

taps my shoulder, rain kisses me.

me & you, we are alive. & we 

deserve more.

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Karo Ska (she/they) is a South Asian & Eastern European non-binary femme poet, living on occupied Tongva Land. Some of their other work appears in Dryland Lit, Resurrection Magazine, the Intercultural Press, Marías at Sampaguitas, and Ayaskala Magazine. Their first full-length collection, “loving my salt-drenched bones” (World Stage Press) is forthcoming in February 2022. They are also the librarian at the Sims Library of Poetry. For updates, follow them on instagram @karoo_skaa or check out their website karoska.com.