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By Pat Daneman
We Wish No Less for You

You have everything
we could not help
but leave behind—
rough-polished charms,
chiseled tools,
baskets and clay cups
in pieces or unbroken
as the day they last were filled.
Raised up on columns
of stone, in a space
like a temple, marked

and enshrined, fragments
hidden from sunlight, sheltered
from dust. A long wall
painted to seem real—
pine woods, foggy meadow,
smoke lifting from fires.
Children frozen
in play, animals tethered—
as if our days were all
the same. Where

are the storms, the petty
arguments? Our old
were inconsiderate,
our daughters obstinate,
our sons sad.
Our teeth fell out,
and there were some of us
nobody liked. Women
could talk too much
or sit unmoving
in too much silence.
We named everything
with sounds your mouths
can’t make. We wish

no less for you–a future
you cannot imagine–
colorless strangers in colorless clothes
who will map your buried city,
raise slabs of stone
to slice away wedges of mud.
shine torches on your shattered wheels,
rusted cooking pots and weapons,
with gloved hands wrap your currency
and holy books in muslin to preserve
their mysterious chains of symbols.
They will whisper and sketch,
wonder what you used
this jeweled neckpiece for,
this stiff-limbed tiny woman,
take everything away
to be numbered, raised up
as on altars in the hush of a room
where a long wall is painted
with flood and flame, sky
streaked with silver,
your children crying.
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