I know you, America.
I see you in the tiny back roads where wildflowers
bloom and droop with the dust that covers them. Where
I wander and watch verdant woods filled with green
inch past my window.
I feel you in the breezes that fall across my face,
as I am free to travel your craggy terrain and find
new places you have hidden from me. This, in your
excitement for me to explore you.
You are on my front porch where I am free to seek refuge
and form prose that falls from my fingertips like
blood, cut from jagged edges. Where I find the hard
words more defiantly than anywhere else.
I know you, America.
You are not 'Merica.
You are more than patriotic vitriol spoken with
careless abandon, without connecting brain or tongue.
Words wrapped in a flag and handed to you at birth
to blindly worship and tread softly around.
You are more than a flag, fibers and pigments colored
to make red-hued stripes and white stars, signifying a
birthright of undying allegiance. The foggy wars we've
fought as we're spoon-fed the pablum of liberty.
Freedom isn't free, because it's a state of mind.
Liberty comes in the freedom to make decisions of
who I am and choose to be. It comes to me in the words
I say and the people I love freely, without fear
of someone saying I can't.
I see you, America.
In the faces of my children as they ford the waters
of this life that aren't easy to cross. As they
scrape and scrounge and do and be. I see America
in their faces, fiercely shining in their will to
accomplish much as resistance presses them.
I see you in my husband, who made your harsh
and beautifully unfolding land his own, leaving behind a home
where familiar creases would have lined his face. Where
smoke from comfortable fires burn and
the smells and senses could wake
him up to what he left, though a home made now,
where he chose to make it.
In myself, though older in body, yet young in spirit.
My chance to also do and be and see new things
and walk different paths. I don't need a flag in my
face to tell me I can accomplish much.
Neither the cold grip of metal
in my hand to say I'm American.
Not 'Merica. Where to be an American means
gripping tight to words long ago spoken,
and wrapping ourselves in a cloak
of rigid freedoms we hold tightly 'til death.
Your wind whispers to me in the night, and I
wrap that caress around me as I find you in a
darkened sky lit with dying stars.
I want to meld you with 'Merica and find an
uncomfortable place, where we can relish in
your goodness together. Instead of divided,
from the precipice I now stand on.