SPLIT THIS ROCK: Poems of Provocation & Witness

Tanya Snyder



It’s not your fault.
There was no way
to know. Helicopters
buzzing over-
zealously, my money
bleeding the country-
side, my scalp
hanging on some
guerrilla bedpost.

And so, just because
you live so north
my head cranes
like the front row
at the movies;
just because you
are the queen bee
and I am down here
drowning in your
honeyed hive;
just because from here
your diamonds
are the stars
we pray to
doesn’t mean
that you are complicit
doesn’t mean
that this is your fault.

On the angled highways,
On the twisting stairs,
On the city blocks
pressed up against
each other with only
streets between, we
shake our teeth in jars
and lie back as
the sky forecasts our
future, as the clouds
like tealeaves tell
stories until the teacup
turns over
and scalds us below.

And I may come home,
teeth shaking, head still
stuck south, fingers still
trembling, stupidly,
or I may not come home,
and this,
we knew,
was the risk we ran.

And it might
soothe you to know
that this was not
your fault, that I
was not your problem,
that you may
proceed as you have
without failure or
caution, without
the benedictions
of the bishops
or the tears
of their surviving

With the yellow beasts
in your own dreams,
the firm mattress beneath you
and your head
all night spinning
on your softest pillow,
you may continue
with the enchanting horror
of this beautiful country
buried so many miles
beneath you, you may
continue, rolling on and on
through your dreams,
your painted skies,
and your horrible beautiful
but satisfied.



Tanya Snyder is a freelance journalist and Latin America solidarity activist. This is the second time her poetry has appeared in Beltway. She is on the Split This Rock Coordinating Committee.


Published in Volume 9, Number 1, Winter 2008.

Read more by this author:
Tanya Snyder: Evolving City Issue