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Martha Collins: Blessing

Where we dug up the graves of Black slaves
        who mined the first coal in Illinois,

where we desecrated the graves of indigenous people 
        that covered coal in the Southwest,

where we dug up animals, plants in their graves 
        and burned them as oil and gas and coal—
there, and throughout our earth, let us grieve 
        for the graves we robbed, and then

let us bless the graves of the dead that remain— 
        and over them, for the living, the wind, the sun.

Copyright 2022 Martha Collins. Casualty Reports, forthcoming from University of Pittsburgh Press in October 2022.

Martha Collins is a poet, translator, and editor. She has published ten books of poetry, including Night Unto Night (Milkweed, 2018) and most recently Because What Else Could I Do.

Gravestones for the extended Stevens/Gibbs/Howard Family who were slaves in Rhode Island (1759-1775). PHOTO: CAITLIN GALANTE-DEANGELIS HOPKINS

4 comments on “Martha Collins: Blessing

  1. Barbara Huntington
    April 6, 2022

    Love the levels. Particularly the last line which brings the energy issue to our door.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rose Mary Boehm
    April 6, 2022


    Liked by 3 people

  3. kim4true
    April 6, 2022

    Gosh, yes. I wander around wondering how many people (or animals) have died on the spot I’m passing. All. The. Time.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Sean Sexton
    April 6, 2022

    Yes—let us!

    Liked by 4 people

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