We overlap, we can’t escape
the names our fathers gave us,
nor this land that’s a sparrow’s wing
from New Mexico to Massachusetts.
A couple in Cincinnati waits
for doughnuts, a LuAnne, a Paul,
a look across the river where
a busted tambourine says Mark
Salomone was here and marked
this spot with his medallion
of St. Mark. America, I am flailing,
I am missing my brothers and sisters
and Mr. Jones, a man holding on
to a bedpost, thinking it’s his knee,
his wife’s knee, his mother’s knee.
No—there’s no escaping the Wooster Road
Walgreens where Samantha Bucket
(her real name) counts change
for Mrs. Boon (my mother) who
lost a penny in Wadsworth, Ohio
in 1953 and never got it back.
This is all very sad, very telling,
and I miss you, America, your lawn
furniture and driveways and baseball
games in Dubuque, your nurses’ aids
checking their phones in Detroit,
your sad antlers on sad walls
in Mason City, Iowa. I miss your irony
and hypocrisy and Rachel Maddow
telling us the President’s to blame.
I miss your condors, too,
and generations of Boons trailing
deep into Virginia where a woman
bakes a rhubarb pie and berates
her husband for his soiled sense.
I’ll come back to you eventually,
my doubt the doubt of strangers
and my doubt mostly yours. You loved me
when I was a boy. Please love me again.
Carl Boon lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at 9 Eylül University. His poems have appeared in many magazines, including Posit, The Maine Review, and Diagram. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Boon recently edited a volume on the sublime in American cultural studies.