What happens when you remove a tribesman from
his native clothing—leather, linen, silk? He begins
to die and self-medicate with chemical elixirs and fermented drink.
The gorilla and lion, he can face, but polyurethane and nylon—
they are a death row.
What happens when you remove the colonizer from the edge
of the wood, the forest, and accounting for his actions?
He will bleed his fellow until he dies and
seek to rule everything unto extinction, everything
that stands before his eyes.
The forest, the skins, the mores
stand to keep all alive, all the same,
all in its own like—nature,
the balance, the oxygen, everything and everyone
on which life relies.
A. E. Ryan is a Jewish-Brazilian-American African-American poet, publisher, and filmmaker from the Washington, D.C. area. She is currently penning her first nonfiction book through Mount Carmel Publishing with an expected Spring 2023 release. Her most recent short fiction “The Athlete” can be found in The 50-Word Stories of 2021: Microfiction for Lovers of Quick Reads. She is also the author of the international award-winning screenplays Scurvy Dogs and When Eyes Go Dark.