Share198 https://www.terrain.org/mp3/2018/feb/Malone_DearAmerica2.mp3Dear America:The checker at Safeway sings his greeting in an operatic voice. I avoid his line. I’d like to just say fine, thank you,without having to hear his score about the weather. There’s such a thing as too much cheer. An army of robots is advancingin the workplace; a woman on the sidewalk cries quietly. Today a man plowed his car into a crowd in Charlottesville.All I want is to buy this chicken, this lemon, and vodka from the high school girl who lets them slide past without comment, tearingthe corner of my receipt as innocently as an afterthought. There are so many reasonsto be sorry. My grandmother is no longer alive, that’s one. Seven years ago I lied when my grandfather asked whereshe was—he wouldn’t remember anyway. He wanted to go home, but we left himwith the nurses, staring at the brightly singing birds behind glass. Is this home?No one knows. A woman dead in Charlottesville, and every day here we are, searching bins of softened peaches, aisles of jars.Someone on the sidewalk breaks apart into her hands, an army advances. The guilty and the lost among us inflatingour chests, lying and singing, covering up. Erin Malone is the author of Hover (Tebot Bach Press, 2015) and a chapbook, What Sound Does It Make (Concrete Wolf Press, 2008). She lives in Seattle and is editor of Poetry Northwest. Header photo by dh_creative, courtesy Pixabay.Read more new Letters to America in Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy, published by Terrain.org and Trinity University Press.