Saturday, October 29, 2016

Injustice: a poem

This afternoon, sitting outside,
I witnessed a small tragedy.
High in the leaves of the avocado tree,
a male squirrel attempted to rape
a female squirrel, and in the ensuing
struggle, the female fell
from the top of tree
40 or so feet down onto
the concrete patio below.
She was alive, but sat motionless
until I approached, and then
she climbed, with a broken leg
and who knows what internal
injuries to a low branch 
of the avocado tree,
where she hid beneath
a patch of leaves,
and for a while I looked into
the eyes of the injured, 
hiding squirrel, not knowing
what to do, feeling powerless.

As I witnessed this,
I was reading the preliminary
judgment of a court case:
Friends of Coyote Hills v. City of Fullerton.
In the fall of 2015, five city 
officials disregarded a public
referendum to preserve
one of the last patches of
nature in my hometown.
The courts, and the city, 
and the big corporation
agreed that, because they could,
they would go ahead and 
bulldoze it, rape the land
for the benefit of a few.
In this world, it's hard to hear
the cries of the dispossessed,
they are humble, soft amid
the loud, hard din of business.
And in the coastal sage,
there hide the last few little blue birds,
the California gnatcatcher,
unaware of the march of progress.

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