It has only been a few months since my last post. Time to send the silence to its reckoning. More to come…
The Feast of Saint Tisquantum
as recollected from the glossy truths of American textbooks
Save his naked ghost a seat at your table amongst the cornucopia of roots and gooseberries
and the meat of musket shot. Commence with grace for the long-haired holy diplomat
and cultural chameleon. Remember the Wampanoag coast of rock and crash where black-suited exiles with buckled hats unloaded unprepared. Their seeds were not for this land, the fauna too
phenomenal. Their pilgrim hands unaccustomed to the labor of survival. Roanoke
then comes to mind, marooned and wasting away in colony. Imagine the Powhatans and
Tuscaroras watching from afar, patient for the sky to fall. Because white men had never come
to stay (!), they did not reach out. The exploration stalled and starved. Legend of colonial ruin traded north, up the coast in economy with shell and bead to the juts and boulders
of Tisquantum’s edge of the world where he was legend himself; tales twisted tall
of streets (streets!), ships, deities, slavery, his bilingual tongue. The clothing covered his legs
all year round, he thought the educated conjures of a salvaged savage who knew God
to be loving and just and warm. His soul had been saved (saved!). Only when he had returned
from the exotic longitudes of Malaga and London, his people had been decimated by bacteria.
As the pilgrims landed, psalmed, suffered and wavered, he did not tirade or shake the war rattle (!).
He taught them viable crops and fertilizers for a flourishing. In their quest to find God’s many faces
within forest apparitions, the bounty of New World anarchy, of Indian and frontier,
Squanto was a docent of wilderness. __ __ __ __ __ __ __ And in the end thanks was given for a harvest
and togetherness. God was present on the shoulders of his saint. Give thanks unto him,
patron saint of squash blossoms and potlucks. The rest are simple footnotes
and iniquitous blemishes (!) to be misremembered or forgotten. But not the doted Patuxet,
this salvaged species, there is responsibility at every table to revere the naked ghost,
rightly stripped to a favorable likeness for the voracious cavalcade of football and feast.