Caroline Goodwin’s poem “I will not say”

        Here are the words of Caroline Goodwin, a great-great granddaughter of John Evans, poet laureate of San Mateo County, California, and one of several Evans descendants who met with descendants of the Cheyennes and Arapahos last fall:
                                          i will not say
                                   
                                             september 25, 2014
                                              for the descendants of the survivors
                                              of sand creek
               i will not say it wasn’t him       governor john evans   my 
                              great-great-grandfather   because i believe his hand
                              drove every hoofbeat      every
                              breath taken and moving east
                  i will not say it happened in the past      will not
                               pretend the dust does not keep coming up
                               into our eyes      the yarrow and juniper
                               and sagebrush     november 29 1864
                      i will not claim to understand the shadow
                                   cast by his face into the mountains and names
                                   because those who have hurt me
                                   live down the street and have apologized
                                   in my language

               i will not say i haven’t built my house of shame
                           haven’t looked into the glass for answers
                           my heart filled with grass
                           my living daughters searching the forest
                           for their mother      for their mother’s light
                i will not say i have the right to speak      my voice
                           blended with the living ghosts
                           with the split tongue      the hollowest reeds
                  or even that hope is coming at us from somewhere 
                  on someone’s back, on someone’s wings

                                                          -Caroline Goodwin

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