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Hydroelectric Genocide

Justin(e) Norton-Kertson

tw // this poem mentions imperialist genocide against indigenous peoples and compares it to the slaughter of livestock


Mist and fog creep through

conifer-topped peaks,

a patchwork of a dozen shades of green.

This has to be what poets mean

When of paradise their mighty pens speak.

The jumbled medley of

varied grey clouds

pulsate, pregnant with the source of life.

Electric crackles cut like a knife.

The sky is alive, dynamic, and loud.

Historical waste leaks

into groundwater

and finds its way into the ocean-bound river,

a beautiful low speed courier delivering

Prepackaged radiation burns to livestock

                                                  set for the slaughter


just a few hours north

from the place

where they drowned an indigenous culture

like a ravenous, white, imperialist vulture,

for the genocide-powered hydroelectric rat race.

Oh don’t worry, their

memory lives on. We gave

their names to our bridges and counties to celebrate

their memory, and the bounty of our violent fate

that we built on their freshly manicured lawn-covered graves.

Justin(e) Norton-Kertson (they/he/she) is a queer and multigender author, poety, musician, photographer, and community organizer. In addition to writing poetry and short stories, she writes and plays music for the antifascist neofolk band, Ashera, whose music has been written about in Protean Magazine and A Blaze Ansuz among others. He lives outside of Eugene, Oregon with his partner and animal friends. They can be found on Twitter @countryjim13.

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