by Torteon

A love letter to patriotism: You are the Sun, and I am only an asteroid, cold rock orbiting your brilliance. I fell, spinning, into your greedy embrace.

America, I wonder if you will ever truly see me. Curiosity

brings me to the water’s edge—what do you see first? That

the eyes are open and dark and bloody? That the flesh is

scraped raw from too many scrubs with salt and lemon

and cyanocarbon? Ripples distort my face, make me a monster.

Cruel master! I wear a cotton mask to protect my mouth from

the words it wants to say, hold an umbrella to keep from burning.

Yet for you, I gently singe my life away using candles meant for a wake.

But of course you would never let the beast of burden drive.

My body is a line that starts from the scars on my ankles to

the bruises on my elbows to the oily words on the tip of my

frayed tongue. Memories of your broken floors line my trachea

and spool their way into hard glass coating my arteries. Under

your sweltering spacious skies, I keep turning and turning until

there are no words left, no scars–

just purple mountain majesties and shining seas and me.