Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek;
Give us your thimbles and thread.
Give us the rosaries worn
at your necks, your hatchets
and hammers. Give us your knives
and your forks, the broken ones too.
Give us your pitchers and pans,
spoons and brass kettles. Give us your hoes, bell
collars, bridles. Give us your plows
and your colts, your fertile creek
bottoms. Give us the corn that is coming along,
tight as the ears of a squirrel. Give us your trees.
We’ve made other arrangements.
Give us your tired and scared
but leave the table and the chairs.
Give us your cabins, your two-story houses.
What does an Indian need with two stories?
Give us your guns and your shot.
Sign your names, your symbols or marks.
Brothers, give up your numbers; let us enumerate.
We’ve set fire to your cabins and crops,
our plows have found your people’s graves.
We’ve made other arrangements:
just over the river, four-hundred miles
west, land is waiting; for each family a blanket.
Sarah Sousa’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Apalachee Review, Cutbank, Smartish Pace, Spoon River Poetry Review, The Best of Kore Press 2012 Poetry and Water-Stone Review, among others. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was a finalist for the Kinereth Gensler Award at Alice James Books, the Kathryn A Morton Prize at Sarabande Books and the Tupelo First/Second Book Award among others. She holds an MFA from Bennington College and lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.