Painting by Jimmie Durham
In school I learned of heroic discoveries
made by liars and crooks. The courage
of millions of sweet and true people
was not commemorated.
Let us then declare a holiday
for ourselves, and make a parade that
with Columbus’ victims and continues
even to our grandchildren who will be
named in their honor.
Because isn’t it true that even the summer
grass here in this land whispers those
And every creek has accepted the responsibility
of singing those names? And nothing can
the wind from howling those names
the corners of the school.
Why else would the birds sing
so much sweeter here than in other lands?
Jimmie Durham, “Columbus Day” in Sojourners, October 1991, 12