/ Your

Sir Richard Francis Burton, City of the Saints, 1861. 
 Your republic is a land of misnomers: “America”
 not one nation but a continent, your “Indians”
 no denizens of a mislocated East. 
 Even your transcontinental throws its yoke 
 not across one imagined country 
 but several. You cannot claim 
 even this territory of the Mormons, those bloody 
 hashashayim as you would call them, 
 their Brigham Young a Shaykh-el-Jebel 
 planning to liberate another 
 newborn Mecca. Just as in Egypt, this Zion, too, 
 was plagued by locusts, its Asiatic fields 
 demolished of maize, the limpid waters so polluted 
 with carcasses, a thirsty mullah in this desert
 would long for beer. 
                                                             Your nation 
 built a railroad to draw you closer 
 to the East; now you find the East 
 already within you. But such a disappointing 
 version of it! I look in vain for Mormon 
 out-house harems, and find nothing 
 but farmhouses in which the wives are stored 
 like any other stock or grain. Polygamy 
 is conducted with an air of business, the women 
 married not for sex but because servants 
 are more costly here. And yet it’s women 
 over which they would revolt, 
 these Mormons bedeviled by a government 
 that declares polygamy and slavery sister 
 institutions.  Congress cannot attack one 
 without infringing on the other, they say,
 thus “Dixie” do some locals call this place, 
 their favorite toast, "We can rock 
 the cradle of Liberty without Uncle Sam 
 to help us!”  Absolute 
 independence, absolute sovereignty 
 is their aim, their Deseret to be exclusive as Tibet 
 to their defensive faith.  Your government fears 
 a war with China. But men out here all know
 the war will come within.  How can you subdue
 what you do not rightly name or know, how transcribe 
 your history without a clearer eye to truth? 
 These Mormons do not even celebrate
 your “glorious” 4th, transferring those honors instead 
 to a later date that recalls their survival 
 from the locusts.  On that day, I walked out 
 of Great Salt Lake to see its cemetery, 
 the one place both sinner and saint might reside
 together in peace. There, I found a row
 of women tending crosses, their simple,
 bonneted heads tucked as they swept the stones, 
 each one carved with a gull wheeling in the marble.
 Such pretty, powerless things! No hunters
 like your famous eagle, though according 
 to local legend, it was the gulls that came at last, 
 and devoured all the locusts.