Central American Martyrs, North American Martyrs

Central
American
Martyrs

They are pricks, pickets
thick on the fence
girdling the Americas.

Each slat's cut like flame,
Pentecostal tongues forking
the sultry air.

Taste their language. Know
why the people drink deeply,
stagger, then dovetail.

North
American
Martyrs

They shoulder the thin
line, telephone poles lonely
with integrity.

Between any two,
virtue sags. Even the snows
hug their feet,

look up:
how tall they stand
against the sky!

Peter Oresick taught in the Pittsburgh public schools and worked in the Poetry-in-the-Schools Program sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts when this article appeared.

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