Letter to America: Poem by Blas Falconer

Letter to America by Blas Falconer

One Poem

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Dear America

The heat not having broken all
month long, we stood

in line and watched a boy
race down the park’s tallest slide,

drop into the shallow pool
below, from which he rose

renewed, a look of joy, relief
across his face. My son held

my hand, and looking up,
judged how long it’d take

to reach the top of the stairs.
In front of us, the man, a head

taller, fifty pounds, at least,
more than I, wore red trunks,

his hair, dark brown, short.
I saw the swastika first,

White Power, inked
across his back, the scene:

skeletons climbed his spine
above a sea of flames. I felt

each breakable bone
in my boy’s hand, he, who

days before asked to live
with us forever. Idiot,

my mother called me once
because, You think everyone

is good. The man looked
across the park at no one,

younger than I’d have thought,
and when the line, as if

with one mind, began to move
again, he stepped forward, the foot

or two between us,
perilous, uncrossable.




Blas FalconerBlas Falconer is the author of Forgive the Body This Failure (Four Way Books, September 2018). He is a poetry editor for The Los Angeles Review and a visiting writer in the graduate creative writing program at San Diego State University. For more information, visit blasfalconer.com.

Read two poems by Blas Falconer appearing in Terrain.org.
Header photo by Shantigirl22, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Blas Falconer by Emily Petrie.

Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.