Hand As Golden Shovel

by Caits Meissner

Once the world was perfect, and we were happy in that world.
Then we took it for granted.
— Joy Harjo

Laid down once
to study the
ant’s colony, the tiny world
so easily crushed beneath my foot was
brimming with perfect
community and
the trail carrying a leaf so big we
couldn’t believe it, we were
in awe, and I even—I’d say, a kind of happy
to discover that life came in
this size, at this scale, that
maybe there was so much more to the world
than our rusty swing set, and then
you covered the hole with your finger, we
did, I mean, because I didn’t stop you, we took
in one second, an entire empire and it
didn’t cross our mind again, for
dinner was plated with meat we took for granted


Caits Meissner is a D.I.Y.-spirited, poly-creative writer, artist and cultural worker, and the author of the illustrated hybrid poetry book Let It Die Hungry (The Operating System, 2016). She currently serves as the Prison and Justice Writing Program Director at PEN America.

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