Mount Ranier and the reflection of Mount Ranier

Letter to America by Rae Paris

One Video Poem

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Mourning Poem

after Xacuabš, after Lucille Clifton’s “Blessing the Boats,” after Joy Harjo’s “Eagle Poem”

 
For those who have lost their breath,
For those in the moment of
Losing their breath,
May you find your way home.
For those fighting
With every last breath,
May you hold on.
For those grieving the ones
Whose breaths have been stolen,
And for those ruptured from the ones
Dreaming hard to remain,
May you be held.
May we be present for you.
May we offer clean water and air,
Food from these lands, growing things,
Tender hands, a safe place to live,
Room to breathe, tiny poems,
What should always be,
Whatever you want or need.
May we say your names
Each morning and evening,
Whisper them throughout the day,
Every one.
With each breath,
May we pull each other close
And remember you.

 

 

 

Rae ParisRae Paris is a Black writer from Carson, California with roots extending to New Orleans. She is the author of The Forgetting Tree: A Rememory and co-editor of Education in Movement Spaces: Standing Rock to Chicago Freedom Square. “Mourning Poem” emerged through the practice of visiting the water each day and remembering/being with Coast Salish lands. Across the lake is where many of the early deaths in this ongoing pandemic occurred; and as many of us know deeply, ongoing legacies of land theft, genocide, and enslavement mean this virus is devastating Indigenous, Black, and Brown communities while the Movement for Black Lives and the fight for Indigenous sovereignty continues. To support: Navajo Nation COVID-19 Fund, Chief Seattle Club, Breonna Taylor Fund, WA Black Trans Task Force, King County Equity Now, Creative Justice.

Header photo by Scott Gutentag, courtesy Shutterstock.

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