To close out The Bloom’s literary publications for 2022, and to celebrate Lake County, we revisit pear poems that were written by local writers for the annual Kelseyville Pear Festival in September of 2022.
Pyriform Earth black and red speaking in curves, in juice. The fruit of history hangs heavy on the branch. Who walked here, hid beneath the surface, a single reed breathing her story into our memory? As her people seeped crimson into the lake. Who cleared and sowed these acres into longing: seed for the sun, skin for its gold, ancestors for their own bones? Their lines spreading across corridors of land, as the shadows of pear trees. Fruiting sweet joy, warm and round in the palm, then dripping to the elbow. And who will speak a new name here? The sandpaper moment of its flesh on the tongue. The bitter seed. For Ni’ka and her own. From the plaque in northeastern Lake County, California marking the California Historical Landmark No. 427: BLOODY ISLAND BO-NO-PO-TI ONE FOURTH MILE WEST IS THE ISLAND CALLED BO-NO-PO-TI (OLD ISLAND), NOW BLOODY ISLAND. IT WAS A PLACE FOR NATIVE GATHERINGS UNTIL MAY 15, 1850. ON THAT DATE, A REGIMENT OF THE 1ST DRAGOONS OF THE U.S. CALVARY, COMMANDED BY CAPT. NATHANIEL LYON AND LT. J.W. DAVIDSON MASSACRED NEARLY THE ENTIRE NATIVE POPULATION OF THE ISLAND. MOST WERE WOMEN AND CHILDREN. THIS ACT WAS IN REPRISAL FOR THE KILLING OF ANDREW KELSEY AND CHARLES STONE WHO HAD LONG ENSLAVED, BRUTALIZED AND STARVED INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN THE AREA. THE ISLAND, NOW A HILL SURROUNDED BY RECLAIMED LAND, REMAINS A SACRED TESTAMENT TO THIS SACRIFICE OF INNOCENTS. One of the few survivors was a 6 year old girl named Ni’ka, later known as Lucy Moore, who hid in the bloodied water and survived by breathing air through a reed. — quoted from: https://www.aclunc.org/sites/goldchains/explore/bloody-island.html Kelseyville, California was named after Andrew Kelsey, whose brutality lies at the inception of this massacre. A movement exists to rename this town, unsuccessful to date.