Considering the anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States at this moment I was reminded to return to Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “I Am Waiting,” which returned me to the hope that inspired this response, this love note to America, for an occasion somewhere between Last Rites and Baptism.
SPARROWS WAITING We were sorting the Grapes of Wrath, waiting for the shift to be done. Our unrest was everywhere: flags and chanting; paint and the piercing of swords into the flesh at the sides of sworn enemies. When was our Last Supper, and when would it return? Wonder, we looked for you everywhere, waiting for our numbers to be called.
The whales waited elsewhere, bleeding oceans back into their ears; do they hear each other through the current of it? We wanted to know what they’d been saying all along after hellos and we wanted to lie down again ––the lovers, the weepers, the dreamers, across the Great Divide, our bodies bridges for the feet that could not believe unless they stepped across us, unless they put their hands in the wounds of their feet in our backs, back to the Lost Continent they’d been trained to disbelieve America, we were waiting for your music for so long that when you hobbled back to the Dark Tower your intimations of immortality bleeding out from stray bullet wounds, your torch arm falling slack, we couldn’t help ourselves America, we circled you, we circled ourselves no one was looking, but we were there; we stood up, our single bodies no longer the bridge it was our hands Now we held them the shape of us unfastened from the overpass ––still, we held, some of us even though the gaps of our form were widening our collective path an open mouth. Eye, be on your sparrow now. Watch us as we stand before ourselves