Lily So-too, What do they do to you? (oil on canvas, 72 by 72 inches, 2004)

Take me to

where my heart is sunken

deep into the land

stepped on, kicked, trampled, thought

nothing of,

to the place where people don’t know that

it is even there,

supporting their weight.

Let me love them anyway.

i am not divided from myself

let me feel the ache of the person

struggling to keep alive at the hands of another person

and under a mechanized system

designed to grind her back into stardust

mine is the same body and breath

that give her

material right to be, to exist.

If you cannot hold it, why can you not hold it?

Where in you is the fault line,

where is this heavy break

like you are on one mountain and

the rest of the world is on another mountain?

the fall between the rises, is not fooled.

The land knows it is contiguous, it is one planet,

one biosphere. It does not wonder if you are a part of it,

even if you wonder if you are a part of it.

Were you there when people with guns

kept us from getting food or fluid?

What about when your freedom of movement

through planes and buses and trains and cars and boats and cabs and all kinds of motorized travel became our inability to leave a small patch of land as it became swallowed by water?

Were you absent then, in the exchange of unseeable gases, yours getting you where you want to go and

the rest of us, going where no-one wants to go?

Were you there when the chemicals showered down

making our children’s children’s children’s bodies

with molten limbs like the scars burned into the land,

so that even if we lived, our culture held

the remnants of your choices

like a wound from our own hand to our own hand

we are here still, waiting for you to arrive.

You are always wanting more from the world, always seeking fire,

you will find the last remaining match, here, where you left

us beneath you.

--September 13, 2014

Lily So-too is a Northwest writer, painter, theatre-maker, dancer, musician, and ardent lover of life. Lily eschews gender pronouns, loves people, the living earth, birds, trees, and social movements that involve dancing and mischief.