I will weave fairy tales of great ice sheets where
fierce white bears and slick black seals once roamed,
sliding into the grey-green liquid depths below
for harvests of silver fish, so plentiful was this delicacy then.
I will show them what romance was in
the books and art and music discs hugging my walls,
ancient artefacts they will touch gingerly, less sure
of the more tangible versions of their electronic everything.
I will recount holding children in seas and mountains of refuse,
in another world a world away from ours, and of the fight
with those who say it doesn’t matter, here is the same as there:
no, your reality is nothing like their own, they who matter as much as us.
They will learn how one was not always free to love, to be
female, poor, a visible minority—
even when the minority was really the world’s majority—
to the ones who held the most in liberty, life and wealth.
And they will ask me with impatience why
we failed so much, when the answers were so clear?
Just as I declared with all the innocent solemnity
only seven years of age can dictate to my mother’s mother that
it was wrong to resent old enemies—forgiveness was divine,
and seven years of freedom could not understand my country’s war.
I will tell them how we sat fighting
while our earth cooled or heated, how we divided
every part of life between Us and Them, and how we all tried
in our own ways to find a way so we could come to this day
when we could tell these stories to them.