Towering red pines

skyscrapers of the north woods

wind whistles through branches

whisper a lullaby

soothe a weary city mind.

I belong here in my camper trailer

a paper bag colored woman

in these natural spaces

wilderness is not reserved for internalized dominance “for whites only”


I remember these words from history books/

the Lakota people called this place

tinted or cloudy depending on the time of day

now the meaning of the word and the people are



Something is amiss here my instincts sending me

warnings possible

secret conspiracy/

white woman bent with the posture of a question mark

mumbled, “go back to your ghetto”

I said, “you mean my suburban home”

she gives me the stink eye/ their camper trailer

festooned with red, white and blue stickers

proclaiming their internalized dominance.


Wooded paths are biked and hiked

white tail deer bound away silent except

for the crackle of broken branches

grey squirrels scold intruders from red pine branches.


Later/ twilight supper cooked over a campfire with

roasted marshmallows for dessert while two dogs sleep

peacefully/ sometimes flick an eye lid open to check

a mysterious noise then back to sleep

chasing dream rabbits.


I snuggle close to my man knowing

inside this camper trailer his gun

lies underneath the mattress/he understands the

beauty of the wilderness can turn on you/

two-legged beasts of internalized dominance “for whites only”




“Internalized dominance” term used by Claudia Rankine in an essay, In Our Way: Racism in Creative Writing, published October/December 2016, “The Writers Chronicle.” She uses “internalized dominance” because, and I agree, it has deeper meaning than the term “white privilege.”