Letter to America by Jill McCabe Johnson

One Poem

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Dear World,

Good news! I found your missing socks
on the roadway today, tortured
with mud, trampled underfoot,
like a lost-and-found where loved ones
can rescue old friends
                                         who’d marched with them
and protected them from the brutality
of winter’s chill. Two friends fell in the path
of xenophobia—
                               that tired, old retread—
splayed flat and torn open like so much roadkill.
One got rescued by the neighbor’s retriever,
who clutched him tenderly in his mouth,
an intimacy
                       most of us would never risk.
Another got pecked to death by shrikes.
The neighbors gazed on,
                                              but no one came to her defense.
What was it Elie Wiesel said about the perils
of indifference being always the friend
of the enemy
                           Goebbels, that Monster of Propaganda,
advised us to accuse our foes of the crimes
we ourselves are guilty of. Indifference
being among the worst of these. I found your socks,
Dear World.
                        I’ve placed each one delicately
in my mouth, where accusations typically reside.
They are here, waiting. Black and blue.
Yellow and red. If neglect is a kind of prison,
retrieval is a kind of grace.
                                                  Whenever you’re ready.




Jill McCabe JohnsonJill McCabe Johnson is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Revolutions We’d Hoped We’d Outgrown (Finishing Line, 2017) and Diary of the One Swelling Sea (MoonPath, 2013), winner of a Nautilus Book Award in Poetry, plus the nonfiction chapbook, Borderlines (Sweet Publications, 2016). Jill believes we all have a role in protecting human rights and environmental riches, today and for future generations.
Read poetry by Jill McCabe Johnson previously appearing in three poems and three poems.

Header aerial photo of trees and road in winter by omphoto, courtesy Shutterstock is the first online literary journal of place, publishing award-winning literature, art, editorials, and community case studies since 1998.