I’m not sure what it says about my emotional state, but when I saw “Native American Poetry for Kids” I was like TES PLEASE. And I set myself up for some nice, light, possibly rhyming verse.

So I had to almost laugh after I read this first. Not because it was funny but because I had several “whoa” moments reading it and at the end was a bit of an “on snap” moment.

I SO appreciate this turn of a phrase and pointedness.

Passive Voice

By Laura Da’

I use a trick to teach students
how to avoid passive voice.

Circle the verbs.
Imagine inserting “by zombies”
after each one.

Have the words been claimed
by the flesh-hungry undead?
If so, passive voice.

I wonder if these
sixth graders will recollect,
on summer vacation,
as they stretch their legs
on the way home
from Yellowstone or Yosemite
and the byway’s historical marker
beckons them to the
site of an Indian village—

Where trouble was brewing.
Where, after further hostilities, the army wasdirected to enter.
Where the village was razed after the skirmishoccurred.
Where most were women and children.

Riveted bramble of passive verbs
etched in wood—
stripped hands
breaking up from the dry ground
to pinch the meat
of their young red tongues.