*Originally written for Pawling Public Radio’s “America the Beautiful” poetry presentation
I lay on the land, grass tickling bare toes.
Descendants of descendants of descendants of the first ants to explore the soil
steadily tiptoe over ancient rock
Crow caws, reminding me to remember the time before time
when tribes tread with honor and gratitude.
Fresh, damp petals and tomato harvests recall the toil
of hands that dug, that tamped, that prayed over this place.
This land that stretches miles upon miles.
The curb on the corner, the trees beyond,
where Fawn and Fox relax in repose.
Memory stretches past forest through cool trickles of streams.
This America where dreams become gulfs of sea salted peace.
Infinite flatness, icy peaks, sweltering deserts exist
as one refrain of her ululating anthem.
All seasons contained within curious war drawn borders,
and hop onto islands of lava and love,
and sail into sands of snow and salmon.
This land of richness and ravage.
I lay on this land and offer my heart.
Land who suffers under blood and tears, flags and fury, cannons and creeds,
she is ever constant, giving of her maternal hope
that we will honor her and one another,
under these universes,
these bands of stripes and stars.