Dark in Light

photo by Elizabeth

DARK IN LIGHT


Wanted to show you the moon
but cruised off the wrong ramp
and wound up in a war zone
where there is no curfew:
men standing solo in the middle of the street
or huddled, talking beneath burned-out lamps;
				
wanted to show you the soccer moon
but drove down darkened roads with bars 
enclosing windows and doors,
barbed wire spiraling a hardware 
store and nursery—planks and daisies 
out of reach;
	
wanted you to count the seas
across that haloed orb
but drove alone 
through neighborhoods as treeless
as that dog-song moon;
beat-up cars driven 
beyond unmarked borders
pulled over by uniforms 
with clubs and guns,				
jagged tension cutting concrete air;
				
I want to know who 
declared this war of Americans
against Americans:
children peer from sheeted windows,
women hide behind hollow doors,
a man looks up from an empty street, 
each of us equal 
distance from the sun’s reflective sphere.

Thank you to the editor of Something Like Homesickness for first publishing this poem.

America

photo by Elizabeth
AMERICA

Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth.
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate,
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet, as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand. 


Claude McKay, 1921 

Shenandoah Literary