Sue D. Burton’s BOX, selected by Diane Seuss for the Two Sylvias Press Poetry Prize, was awarded Silver in the Foreword INDIES Poetry Book of the Year (2018) and was a finalist for the 2019 Vermont Book Award. She is also the author of Little Steel (Fomite Press), awarded Fourth Genre’s Steinberg Prize, and has poems in Beloit Poetry Journal, Blackbird, Green Mountains Review, Shenandoah, and Poetry Daily. She is an apprenticeship-trained physician assistant.
& in Swanton, Vermont today the swans
in the center of the green are nipping
each other or perhaps they are kissing
or perhaps that strangled sound they make is a mute-cry for the place they
were wrenched from, before Her Majesty the Queen of England had them crated
& shipped as a special gift to this down-on-its-luck U.S. border town first
settled by the finally-starting-to-be-recognized-by-the-state Abenaki, far from
their magic white-winged cousins featured in European fairy tales, cooped up
now all winter in a shed, dabbling all summer in a hot little mini-pond behind
an iron fence, mocked (looked down on) by flocks of October snow geese
honking nasally in near-perfect Vs, gawked at by straggles of Canadian tourists
(when the dollar exchange is good) or local school kids on field trips. & today
a fourth grade boy whose uncle’s been teaching him Abenaki is taunted by
another white boy tossing stones at the pond that he’s not a real Indian.
From WTP Vol. VIII #1