(poem after a film)

Tell me again, he says,
the Story of America.

So I tell it again
as we trudge the long, broken road
where the dead cars gather dust,
opened by rust to the gray, dark sky.

Where he and I walk
over the fossil-bones
pressed down, sucked up,
and ground into the dead-black road
where once-upon-a-time
America drove overland,
over animal,
over the keening
of those who crack-voice cried


Who prophesied
that this story of America

(told loud and big and brash
in the clashing, burning, belching
of industry)

would one day drown
in a bang,
and a whimper.

That, now, is our Story:
a whisper on this dying man's lips
as we slip down south,
hiding from the demon-ghosts
of America's appetite for man
until all that's left is me
and this boy--
this child-voice of America
as she might once have been,
innocent and free.

And I (the man, the father)
turn my head away to weep
one last lament for America,
showing only smiles and
telling tales of baseball and apple pie,
of you and I, back then,
when the story still was being spun,
and the ending of America

(oh, America)

had only just begun.


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