The Trading Post
There will be a store
in the mall that sells plush black and white
whales with tags that read Blackfish
and plastic elephants with great tusks in boxes that read
Boycott Ivory. There will be polycloth tigers and panda bears
each one labeled Made in China, a place where
people wear masks to protect their lungs from air.
But there will be no sign of varmints buried under the polished stone floor.
What tag would do for a pregnant prairie dog?
Gassed Especially for You. There will be a store in the mall
catering to the child’s longing for love,
but not a whisper of the child’s grief.
The child’s books will not story a muntjac who chewed off his own foot
in a struggle to be free of the wire snare, one of a thousand
snares in the hedge of death
erected through remote Southeast Asian forest, far
far away from the factory where the child’s stuffed deer was stitched together. Farther still from the child’s house on the burning Front Range. Forest fire stole Bambi’s home.
The whale and the reactor are muffled,
a steady leak at Fukushima is not so real as wildfire
out of control. And if the child hears about
radioactive water pouring into the Pacific
the myth will include a hero sweeping down from the sky
or up from the ocean depths to seal the crack and clean up the mess.
There will be a hero’s happy ending. The child too will become
a hero, comforted by his own righteous will to defend his family
until he realizes he alone cannot plug the hole. The lone wolf is dead.
No hero is coming to substitute his parents who were not listening
when he said
Look at me. The child’s drug addiction will be his own, his depression before the suicide
nothing to do with the microwaved burrito
on the porcelain plate at the empty dining room table
graced on a marble floor that covers starved souls, his own buried alive.
Note: March 2015, a large prairie dog colony was gassed in anticipation of the ‘Nation's Biggest Mall’ at Castle Rock, Colorado. If young children could comprehend the loss of life and exploitation required to fill the shelves in a mall ~ slave labor, soil lost, forest lost, rivers lost, homes lost, family members lost ~ they would refuse the items. And as painful as the mall is conservation organizations 'pushing' stuffed animals and other shwag in the name of 'species adoption'. Fall 2015, I received the invitation 'to adopt' from three major NGO's.
I battle material pacification every time I enter a store with my son, who is attracted to things and too young to absorb the immorality and loss of all that is traded for mass produced products.
Often, my frustration boils over. He then feels a pain that I manage through writing; a pain for which his only outlet is rage. This pain is not resolved by avoiding the general store. The pain will be resolved when the market is once again honest; when products made well are sold directly by people who enjoy their craft and at the sacrifice of no one's joy in living.