Dear America

 
I’m past that post-election fog
but still submerged in the flooding
swamp stinking our shoes wet.
Mom jokes about leaving our country.
Dad doesn’t want my ass
disappeared whenever I flare
on Facebook. For the record, I protested
against the man—handmade signs,
a friend in an ape suit, a golden
toilet. I treated it like an anecdote, rallied
for Bernie, then HRC, assuming a new history
that hopes harder than hailstones breaking glass.
Instead, we wake to a house of horrors
where a celebrity tweets hatred, dons
a limp red tie, scrawls
executive hypocrisies, and calls it politics.

I’m still learning what to do in the post-truth America.
I’m still scanning a watch list for professors,
their liberal agendas for teaching
against racism, bigotry, and misogyny, a website
hiding behind “patriotism” and “alt-right.”

I’m thinking back to everything I told my students
in November. Did I lean too far to one side
of the classroom? When I said:
be informed, speak up, vote goddamnit,
did they see America?
My politics are a fractured puzzle.
I’m trying to solve the field and sky
with all the missing pieces.
Stubborn, I’ll keep talking
about the watch lists,
the protests, the work to do
against injustice, knowing if I’m found
worthy of label, my lessons
and words won’t change.

 

 

   

Juan MoralesJuan Morales was born in the U.S. to an Ecuadorian mother and a Puerto Rican father. He is the author of the poetry collections The Siren World, Friday and the Year That Followed, and the forthcoming collection The Handyman’s Guide to End Times. He is a CantoMundo Fellow, the Editor of Pilgrimage Magazine, and an Associate Professor of English at Colorado State University-Pueblo, where he directs the Creative Writing Program and curates the SoCo Reading Series. His poems are forthcoming or have recently appeared in Pank, Post Road, The Malpais Review, Green Mountains Review, and others.

Header original photo of U.S. flag by Mrs_Shaffer1, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Juan Morales by Sherwin Bitsui.

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