In this America

by Kathryn Smith

I wake at 3 a.m. in this America,
head split with migraine, pain
like a spear. I swallow
prescriptions, sleep until noon.
I’m sweat-soaked and dreaming
strange dreams of America.
I’m planning a life
as a recluse in this America.
I tunnel earth beneath
the stairwells of this America,
or was that in the dream, or is this
America a dream, oh, what use
is dream in this America.
I am saying
my prayers in this America,
spending my money on co-pays
in this America, counting my blessings like
slaughtered sheep. I sleep
and wake and repeat in this America.
I sleep and fear and shake.
My antidepressant is on backorder
in this America. I’m scheduling
appointments in this America.
I’m wearing the same clothes
every day in this America. I haven’t
been outside in weeks.
I don’t want to be
afraid of you, America,
but I can’t shake
your shadow behind me.
You’re lurking again, America.
You’re grabbing
my pussy at the bus stop,
America. You’re beating
my wife for being my wife. I thought
we were over this, America.
You’re turning in your gyre,
America. I’m waiting
to be born in this America. I’m pacing
the streets of this America, echoing
the prophecies of history’s mistakes.
You’ve pulled yourself up
by the bootstraps, America,
by crushing the toes
of the shoeless.
I’m embarrassed for you, America.
I feel sorry for you, America.
I am calling in sick in this America.
I think you should do the same, America.
I’m quitting my job in this America.
I’m giving my money to refugees
in this America. I’m writing letters
to the widows of this America. I’m burning
my resume in this America, I am
crafting new allegiance
in this America, this
I pledge. I promise you.