This land is my land, he snarls
In an oil-spill of dark ink:
God blessed this land for those like me.
He plans to catch us like mice, like rabbits,
Jaws snapping spines, rope tight ‘round ankles,
Hearts in ruddy hands beating blood-bright.
But we are trembling with the reckoning.
We patch each other with forest mud and fur and feathers
Rolling wheat and rustling grass,
A reclamation as we march
And march and march
Down that highway called freedom,
That highway carved in canyon walls
By all our salt and fluid
Squeezed drop for drop.
Our bones, bleached by desert sun
Our flesh, rotten beneath redwoods
Our open veins, widening rivers
Our atoms, scattered to the lifting fog—
Oh, false king, this land is ours:
In the golden valley
We wear crowns of stars.
By Lauren Kayes
Lauren Kayes is a queer, disabled Jewish woman, and a writer of fiction and non-fiction. She lives and works in Los Angeles, California.