Lauren Mallett

The Harbor, 1943, Josef Presser, American

Skipanon

First I adore this land. Next I love
          our compound language for it. Dismal
   Nitch. Gearhart. Bayocean. Salt Works.
The Skipanon River. None are mine,
          yours, or ours, though I admit I sang
that unfortunate anthem at Disney Land
   in the late nineties. I didn’t know to call
          my I saw below me solo colonialism.
And we’re too late in practically every way.
   Scotch broom usurps the clearcut,
          clam season was closed by domoic acid,
   a landslide claimed eastbound Highway 30,
some of the names we use have native
   roots and some of the origins are genocide.
Today’s Ship Report with Joanne Rideout
   featured Big Brave (carrying wheat)
          and Lisa Marie (carrying gypsum).
A freighter like that sits low on the Columbia.
   From the Hammond Mooring Basin
          we watch some move upriver,
   others out the mouth. Like blessings
we call out their names. We see if we can
   make out their flags like we are at war.


Lauren Mallett’s (she/her/hers) poems appear in Poetry Northwest, Puerto del Sol, The Seventh Wave, Salamander, Passages North, and other journals. She lives on Clatsop land of Oregon’s north coast. laurenmallett.com