Letter to America Poem by Susan Petrie

Letter to America by Susan Petrie

One Poem

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to 5W

Sunday Septembers us windward, windows down, Rosanne Cash motherless children from the dash. Route 5 more west, more passing lane than anyone knows what to do with these days. Denimed air, season reflects a moonish ring, hovering above us & acres & acres of newly yellowed fields. Night noises noon–the susurrus of insects. Us, me and him, we drive. Out for a look or for a what’s left. Much, and also not much. Here’s what: River. Town. Smokestack. Statue of Liberty popped on concrete blocks. Shingle shack. Windowless woman walking gaunt. At intervals, signs remind us a canal still locks. And unlocks. Car for sale. Bale of hay. Here 3(0)(00)(000)(0000) years fret a landscape. Here our patinated confluence of defeats. Is it that fewer people people isolation’s periphery. Is it that firm resolve of weeds. This terrain, a lance, a breach, a coppered knot between us. Car for sale. Bale of hay.


Mile after mile,
roadside totems littered,
lingering, left




Susan PetrieSusan Petrie has been exploring the mid-Hudson region of upstate New York (without a GPS) for about a decade. She photographs and writes about places that are neglected and often overlooked. Check out her work on Instagram: spetrie_100milehome. She graduated from Bennington College in 2018 with an MFA in poetry.

Header photo by Susan Petrie. Photo of Susan Petrie by Daniel Petrie.


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