828,000 Square-Miles by Featured Poet Chris LaTray

Did you happen to notice
in the midst of all your
best efforts at surviving
that the other day
marked the anniversary
of the Louisiana Purchase?
I’m not talking about
the time you marveled
that you could buy a daiquiri
from a drive-through window
complete with a straw
with all but the very
business end of the paper
already torn off and
pressed into the beverage.
I’m not talking about
the fake voodoo charms
purchased from a comically
witchy-looking proprietress
in a plasticy shop
on Bourbon Street either.
No, I mean the epic
land grab where
Thomas Jefferson
doubled the land base
of the United States of America
with one spirited purchase,
acquired territory
from a fading colonial empire
who never owned it
in the first place.
We all know this
but how does it even matter?
If you’d picked up
someone else’s daiquiri,
or retrieved the wrong
package of fake voodoo charms,
on having it pointed out
you would have
given it right back,
wouldn’t you?
Or would you have
lied, denied,
even gotten away
with murder?


Poem by Chris LaTray


Chris La Tray is a Métis writer and storyteller. His first book, One-Sentence Journal: Short Poems and Essays From the World At Large (2018, Riverfeet Press) won the 2018 Montana Book Award and a 2019 High Plains Book Award. His next book, Becoming Little Shell, will be published by Milkweed Editions in Spring 2022. Chris is an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians and lives near Missoula, Montana.






An Irritable Métis: chrislatray.substack.com/


One-Sentence Journal:

 Short Poems and Essays From the World At Large

by Chris La Tray