Statue of Liberty

Letter to America by Kelli Russell Agodon

One Poem

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Darling America,

I’ve crossed out ocean and written Jesus,
crossed out sky and have written sky.

There are blueberries in the crosshairs
of a gun. There’s a Statue of Liberty figurine missing

her torch—this is America being America, licking
its feet or it will die trying. We are alone and afraid

of heights, having an existential crisis on the edge
of a cliff. Listen, the dolls in my dollhouse

are being deported and the landlord is typing
in all caps. How do we recognize humanity

when we’re just a name on a screen? An avatar
of a flag or resist, a red cap or a pink hat?

We’re holding the door for people, until we know
how they voted then we’re tripping each other

into the future, getting high off how fast they fall.
Fear—it’s so much easier to believe the shaking

is normal, so let’s put the chains on the tires—
we’ve got four more miles—and we have no idea

how this will work out, but darling,
I’ve got my senators on redial, a sidecar filled

with cocktails, and my beautiful friends,
let’s watch the sunrise together as we reattach

the torch to liberty, eat the blueberries
under the sigh of a mushroom cloud sky.




Kelli Russell AgodonKelli Russell Agodon is the author of six books and the co-founder of Two Sylvias Press. Her most recent book, Hourglass Museum (White Pine Press, 2014), was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and shortlisted for the Julie Suk Prize in Poetry. Her other books include The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing PracticeFire On Her Tongue: An Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry, and Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, winner of the Foreword Book of the Year Prize for poetry and a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. She lives in a sleepy seaside town in the Pacific Northwest where she is an avid paddleboarder and hiker.

Header photo of Statue of Liberty by ParentRap, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Kelli Russell Agodon by Ronda Broatch. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.