Letter to America by Nancy Takacs

Two Poems

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The Worrier

Where is it?

In this coffee shop,
a cage
today with its light colored skin.

Where is it?

In the cloudy window
near a table of men
who gather for the luscious
eggs and hashbrowns.

Where is it?

In their crossfire
about the cop
and whether he had the right
to shoot the black man in the back.

Three men think it’s okay.
One does not.

Where is it?

In the ludicrous smiles
of the men with hats.

Where is it?

In the spotless kitchen,
ammonia lingering
on the counter.

Where is it?

In my pancake that
has eyes of blueberries.

In words I hear
I can not repeat.

In a Welcome sign
that could soon become defaced
with a question mark.

Where is it?

In the calm voice of the man
without a hat,
who opens the paper and reads
them all the details.

I’m thinking:
The voice of reason.
The voice of reason.

Where is it?

In the arguments
that love their grease.

In the crinkle of light
that stumbles across my table.

Deep in my body.

Where is it?

In my uneaten breakfast.

Where is it?

In my rising,
in my walking over to that table,
in my sitting down
to keep the hatless man company.



The Worrier

Where is the revolution?                                                                     

And now
the retaliation.

Wandering children,
raped mothers,
fathers who can’t
fight back or they
will be killed.

What will you do?

Light a vigil candle,
say a prayer I used to say.

I won’t turn away
from the dead,
arms above their heads
as if still in sleep.

I won’t turn away
from the living,
their bodies maimed,
the skin shining
over hollow places.

What do you feel?

their gratitude
when others offer them
bits of bread,
something wild and green to eat.

What do you know?

They’re on their knees
at first light. They’ll walk
long past dark, far, anywhere
someone will accept them.

What do you do?

Take shoes and a nightgown
to the thrift store.

I risk something
with words.

I’m a volunteer at a museum.

What do you see?

A hummingbird
whirs past my ears

A skunk arrives at dusk.

What do you do?

I buy rotisserie
chicken for our cat.

I buy the darkest
chocolate cashews.

What have you given up?

but they seep into my mouth

What do you feel?

I feel embroidered tonight,
like an intricate
tablecloth of blossoms,
whose eyes stay open.




Nancy TakacsNancy Takacs’s The Worrier poems won the 2016 Juniper Prize for poetry, and will be released in February 2017 from the University of Massachusetts Press. Her book Blue Patina (Blue Begonia Press) is the winner of the 2016 15 Bytes Book Award for Poetry. Red Voice, poems in the voice of Echo, is recently out from Finishing Line Press. Nancy is a former wilderness studies instructor and an emeritus creative writing professor at Utah State University Eastern; and has taught inmates, children, and seniors for the Utah Arts Council arts-in education program. She lives in Wellington, Utah.

Read poetry by Nancy Takacs previously appearing in two Worrier poems and two poems.

Header photo of bullet hole in glass by kiwikong, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Nancy Takacs courtesy Nancy Takacs. is the first online literary journal of place, publishing award-winning literature, art, editorials, and community case studies since 1998.