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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Just an excerpt from a history textbook, misremembered:

By: Caitlin Piserchia

Sometimes they say, “Get ready, all of us must fight!”

And the woman with her child says I have to hold my

child.  And the man with his child says I need to hold my child

And the child says, I will fight.  And you measure the size of

her hand against yours and think love is like a river because that’s

the song that’s playing in your head.  This is what it is

to be human. The rubber on pavement

and those spinning wheels, those revolutions. that kind of

spinning looks less beautiful to me. It isn’t all your fault, but

there’s no good in buying soy products. It’s when you

catch a turkey and you look in his eye as you flip him over,

pull his neck through a metal cone and slide a blade into his

neck and squeeze so the blood will let faster and pray to him

as his eyes grow dimmer and try your best to love him enough.  Every seven

years, you are not entirely different, but some things are different.  This is

what it’s like to be human.  Do you think so too? 

I can’t speak about this formally.  I cannot speak 

about this formally.  It’s not about following recommended

rules for womanhood. To everyone who made me, what do you think?

It’s not like that.  Luckily, there are still some bell towers that ring at noon.  It’s train time,

people.  In 1840, Great Western Railway standardized local time and

what I’m trying to say is

all of us are human, right?  I just don’t think train time is

the thing that makes us human


Caitlin Piserchia is an environmental organizer and seasonal worker who loves to write. She grew up in New Jersey, has lived for short periods of time in Oregon and Washington, and mostly calls Missoula, Montana home. "I love that the word revolution can mean something as big as societal restructuring, as concrete and small as the spinning of wheels on a road, and as reliable as the Earth turning on its axis and revolving around the sun, creating the days and years and centuries. I wrote this while thinking about what it means to try to remember lessons of history for the sake of pulling towards a new future, and the strange bridge we’re always creating between the past and the future. How do you trace the impact of your daily choices, and what does it mean to actually work for “progress,” in whatever particular context you live in, with whatever set of challenges you face? Which are the things that are “natural” and more-or-less unchangeable about who we are, and where do we have most agency to make change (and be changed)? How do we recognize and accept and laugh at the contradictions of our lives and move forward anyway? How do we keep in touch—or get back in touch-- with a sense of humanity and love and humor while struggling forward? I don’t think it’s impossible to answer those questions, I just think the answers vary from person to person."


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