Bad Bones, Stolen Earth

Photo by Martin Krchnacek on Unsplash

Someone said this place might have good bones,
that, we could gut it and add some finishes,
yeah, we could make this house
into a home.
But, as someone living
inside that thinly roofed house,
reconstructed so many times,
pry open the walls,
and unfortunately,
bad bones are all you’ll find.

You see,
this place hides a peculiar sickness inside,
an incurable disease that plagues places with unreconciled history,
because this place is on land that never belonged to the builders,
because this place is built on lies.

the original builder
poured a poisonous plaster,
and laid thereon
a brick that
looks like alabaster,
all atop a cracked foundation,
a flawed creation,
an inherently problematic design.

And, these structural deficiencies
pose not the sole problem
in turning this space into
a potential haven.

Can you smell the poison
coming from the stolen Earth —
the raging odor,
it emanates from
venomous dirt,
an ancient mud,
tilled with baked blood,
watered by aged tears,
farmed by force.

What you can’t see or smell
are the bleeding fissures
throughout this great house,
unbinding all that which was mis-constructed first,
and reconstructed carefully again,
but the reconstruction didn’t last,
and now,
what you thought were good bones?

Those bones are now
splitting open
from roof to floor,
the nails, walls, and windows
quietly erupting,
power failing, broken doors,
because the house stands on land tainted and desecrated,
all because
the original builder could not
without stealing more.

This strange place, stood upon a bed of stolen Earth -
it is uninhabitable to live in —
only a few can even find the front door,
this house is likely resistant to deeper reconstruction,
but, sure, tear it down, till the land, and maybe try once more,
tell me, how do you repair
centuries of devastation,
caused by this place built
on beaten earth,
this place is beyond repair,
for this place,
demolition may be the only means of rebirth.
That’s what happens
when you have
bad bones built on stolen earth.

You broke it, you buy it.
What can be done now?
I guess,
tear it down and try again,

We can figure it out someway, somehow.



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Priti (“Preethee”) Nemani

Priti (“Preethee”) Nemani


Lawyer, boss, dog mom. I write about mental health, ending white supremacy, solidarity among minoritized communities, law, democracy, race, and gender.