August is almost too cruel, like
America, to be beautiful. I wish
the last days of summer break
could swaddle children bulletproof.
Here at the Simmering Springs Campground,
the last RV has backed into its gravel lot,
blocking the sun. Dogs yip around the playground,
babies wail, and the whine of air compressors
drifts all the way into the valley.
This view from the edge, though.
Like America, it’s easy to be sentimental
about what could kill you. A rope,
a tumble, the orders of a powerful man.
Or, as a teacher wrote
in my yearbook after “come over
and see me some time,” not
necessarily in that order.
A teenage girl smokes a cigarette under cover
of trees, while her parents jockey
for space in the camper’s small kitchen, oblivious.
A middle-age man exits a large black truck.
Maybe he is not headed to the tree line.
Maybe it means nothing
that I see him lick his lips. Like America,
I shrug and turn away.
—from Poets Respond
August 18, 2019
Lynn Marie Houston: “To conclude simply that ‘Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy confirms suicide by hanging‘ is to ignore much that is dis-eased about American culture.” (web)