Tema Stauffer, White Car, Hudson, New York (photograph)

Dear America, I hate you with so much love. A crowd of chalk outlines ribbons the asphalt

with fault lines no fire hose can erase. If we have learned anything, it’s that it’s always best to
leave a little hair on the brush, epithelia under a nail. Take heart, I know what it means to want

to kill yourself;
                            palm trees in California are also suicidal – see how their gray petticoats fan
upward, leaf bases crossing over each other like dead wings?  

O Nation of soft hands & strange addictions, no wonder my spirit animal is a fainting couch
while I work to make my own luck.

                                                             Thales of Miletus did not believe in luck but in water, how
it birthed & buoyed the world. An Egyptian priest taught him to measure  

the pyramids by studying their shadows. Know Thyself, he railed against the gods,

heatstroking under an Olympic sun.
                                                                            My Land of Liberty, your cerements are showing,
each nervous smile revealing a sliver more skull. I’m walking in your storehouse of canopic jars,

passing every toy gun & cigarette resting in countless anthropomorphic reliquaries with lids

fashioned after Anubis, his jackal ears shooting straight-up skyward like the arms

of the orant in Ravenna’s mosaics or black hands

                                                                                                        surrendering on any street.


Kelly Cressio-Moeller