Letter to America by Sarah Dickenson Snyder

One Poem

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After Two Years of Reading Heather Cox Richardson

I cannot tell if the world is ending
like on 9/11 when a collective innocence
vanished into the blue blue blue
sky and now icebergs melt
and hurricanes and tornadoes whip the wind,
and some humans stir their fear and wrath
with guns and rights—is this the beginning
of the end, has worse come to worst?
I remember my mother saying,
Well, if worse comes to worst, we can always…
She had a plan, had something
to defrost in the freezer, knew how
to avoid cops as she sped along the highway.
Now she’s hushed in the sediment of our pond—
her ashes billowed into a ghost
before they settled. Both she and Dad left
with a secret of secrets, left what was not paradise.
Is the world unspooling its heft,
as it spins and tilts into disaster?
I want it to last, want mantra and breath
and maybe a few grandchildren
who will swim in the pond,
held by the cool water, the clear
sky rippled on its surface.




Sarah Dickenson SnyderSarah Dickenson Snyder lives in Vermont, carves in stone, and rides her bike. Travel opens her eyes. She has three poetry collections, The Human Contract (2017), Notes from a Nomad (nominated for the Massachusetts Book Awards 2018), and With a Polaroid Camera (2019), with another book forthcoming in 2023. Recent work is in Rattle, Lily Poetry Review, and RHINO. Learn more at

Header photo by Simon Berger, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Sarah Dickenson Snyder by Jenny Maloney Photography. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.