No Access

The original route for Dakota Access Pipeline:
10 miles from Bismarck. If it were under construction there

and whites protested potential oil spills
in their water supply

would there have been sound cannons,
police in armored cars, dressed in riot gear, armed with assault rifles

cracks of batons/dog bites/mace/pepper spray,
faces swollen with red welts from rubber bullets wounds

strip searches, detention in dog kennels
numbers written in black ink on the arm.

Hillary–on her website anyway–will end environmental injustice,
clean up toxic sites, reduce asthma and lead poisoning for black and brown children.

If she would heed Winona LaDuke she could call for
pipes for the people in Flint instead.

As lifelong fighter for women’s rights
she could hunt down sex traffickers in the Bakken Oil Patch.

And not that anyone expected
she’d appear in the lobby of her Brooklyn headquarters

sit in the makeshift tipi with the Youth of the Standing Rock Sioux
Ghost Dance and sing Mni Wiconi to the heartbeat of Mother Earth

hug Tokata Iron Eyes as she wept over the police raid
and thank them for the letter demanding her support of the Water Protectors

but to only say it is important everyone
respect the right to peaceful protest and for workers to do their jobs safely

in this time of the Seventh Fire, #iamnotwithher
no matter what beloved POTUS, FLOTUS, and Bernie say

about legacy, momentum,
going high when they go low.

Broken treaties and campaign promises
reek of blood and oil.

Carla M. Cherry is an English teacher from New York City who has been published in Anderbo, Soar, Obscura, Dissident Voice, Random Sample Review, Eunoia Review, MemoryHouse Magazine, Down In The Dirt, and In Between Hangovers. She published a book of poetry, Gnat Feathers and Butterfly Wings. Read other articles by Carla.