Letter to America Poem by Elizabeth Aoki

Letter to America by Elizabeth Aoki

One Poem

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Dear America,

We stand at the end of out
Raging, our bodies a testament
Naked, open handed, you spit
On us and our bleeding, you kick
Closed the door to the hospital.

We stand at the inn of outrage
Gleaming, white and brown hands
Holding square of light, lettered—
You spit on our alphabet. You storm
At our colors, closing the more

That we thought we were due. That
Now, inside the rage, we stand out
With no bargain, no pleas, now we place
Our fists in a circle, our money in other
Pockets. We kick the door down.

Did you think you could hide in your tower
In rage at our difference, scorn for our poverty?
We hold the square outside your hotel, the light
Gleaming off the white pillars of the house.
We seep like outrage through a crowd.

We are the dearly held, dearly bought,
The dearest America. You cannot hold us in.
You cannot kill our darlings. You cannot
Stop this immigration because we are already
Inside the outrage, daring to come out.




Elizabeth (Betsy) AokiElizabeth (Betsy) Aoki completed her MFA at the University of Washington. She has received grants and fellowships from the City of Seattle, Artist Trust Foundation, Jackstraw Writers Program, and a Hedgebrook residency in 2014. Her publications include the chapbook Every Vanish Leaves Its Trace by Finishing Line Press,  the Asian American female poets anthology Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves, and in such places such as The Seattle Times, Nassau Review, dislocate, Terrain.org, The Midway Journal, Phoebe, Poetry East, Enizagam, Seattle Review, Poetry Northwest, Calyx, Asian Pacific Journal, and Hawai’i Pacific Review.
Read poetry by Elizabeth Aoki previously appearing in Terrain.org.

Header photo of Trump Tower in Chicago by quinntheislander, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Elizabeth Aoki by Jessica Drake, JLD Imagery.

Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.