Among the traffic lights, I find
after Emily Yin
America. This is
a mistake. The sun is
so gorgeous here, Mother says.
Two miles before the end
of the road, before men
can ready their punches
& watch animals starved
in my wake. Inside this car,
anything can look like peace.
A low country & a minefield
of bright signs. Undying pledges.
The bullets we buried
on our way home. Once, I was
given a wreath of lightbulbs
& told to disappear.
Once, I hurtled my body toward
a firefly like I was holy. My
mistake. Streetlights shudder,
stop, shadows angled
toward limbs crumpled
on the ground like soot. I roll,
roll the blinds up & then I see
the body, its hand reaching for
my throat like any firecracker
dying with an empty moon. So much
violence. The exit signs ablaze. No
return. I want to set this car on fire
& lay here as a deer. Isn’t that poetic?
Later, we raze the deer on the freeway
to reach an altar of stars and stripes.
My face is my face wearing
a butcher’s robe. Too late, Mother,
I never wanted to be religious. I’m trying
to make this a joke. This nation
we so revere, not close enough
to touch. Here is the head I cut off
to be a sacrifice, lurching like an eagle’s
frame, sitting in the passenger seat,
turning the windows dark.
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