Engine Empire by Cathy Park Hong

From "Fort Ballads"

Ballad of the Range

The whole country is in a duel and we want no part of it.
They see us ride, they say
:all you men going the wrong di-rection.
:We're getting to California. We ain't got time to enlist.

If some forts ready to be sawed to colt towns,
others are abandoned since ricket-limbed Southies
couldn't let their grudges aside and mauled
each other to blood strops.

All around us forts lie built and unbuilt, half-
walled towns as men yoke themselves to state,
but we brothers are heading through fields of blue rye and plains
scullground to silt sand,

afar, the boomtowns of precious ore.

Excerpted from Engine, Empire by Cathy Park Hong. Copyright © 2012 by Cathy Park Hong. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company Inc.