Letter to America: Poem by Debra Marquart

Letter to America by Debra Marquart

One Poem

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Come November

cold eye corrective, come pendulum
take wrecking ball to venerable walls

come cerulean wave, come
typhoon earthquake tsunami
blow the gentlemen from

back to higher ground
or (better yet) homeward    

to the distant shores
that spawned them
washed up     jobless     uninsured

come classic EF5 tornado
good ol’ midwestern tradition, come
barn-splintering wedge of gale force winds

come vacuum up this mess of a land
rip the flimsy scrims from the chambers
where black-robed justices

work their corrupted levers       these days

                                     it’s tempting to curse biblical—
                          to call down pestilence, plague, a pox upon
                both houses & the thundering hooves of horsemen—

instead, embrace November’s wintry grip
                november come inevitable
                          november come early & often      listen

can you hear that ticking
                like fingertips of sleet
                          upon window panes—

it’s the clicking of check-marks
                in ballot boxes
                          the coming blizzard
                                      of millions.




Debra MarquartDebra Marquart is the author of six books including Small Buried Things: Poems (2015), The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere (2007), and a co-edited anthology of experimental writing, Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Prose Sequence (2016). A professor of English in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment at Iowa State University, Marquart is the senior editor of Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment. She also teaches in the Stonecoast low-residency MFA program at University of Southern Maine and performs with her jazz-poetry, rhythm & blues project, The Bone People.

Header photo by everst, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Debra Marquart by Thomas Rice. Music track with audio reading: “Water” by Peter Manesis.

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