Another Poem That Could Save America

roy bentley

Between the shapeshifter shadows of the world and the Soul

secrets pass. On a Facebook video, I watch a bird stitch leaves.


Amazing. In my experience, birds don’t perform for just anyone.

Certainly not anyone whose new neighbors are as loud as mine:


who arrived from the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal

by way of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s their America, you bet.


But they could leave off domestic hostilities that seem to pour

out into the street when it’s warm. Stop acting as if the poet


Tony Hoagland was accurate when he wrote: The greatest

human intellectual achievement of the twentieth century


was the discovery of how clueless we human beings are.

Last month, my neighbor told me that she sold her house


to white Americans. She said it as if I should be pleased.

I want to pass that along with the happy look on the face


of Angel Rivera who says he’s found a home in America—

in Ohio with its love of OSU football and covered bridges.


Joy and cluelessness is where Angel’s story is starting.

Next comes trying to stitch together food and a place,


a living wage. He risks a joke about Trump. Tells me

his kid butt-dialed him from a class at the high school.


In his America, he says, most of the neighbors simply

want him to get the shapeshifter-flowerbeds tended to


before the winds carry sporophytes from elsewhere

and republics of weed and wildflower take over.



Roy Bentley, finalist for the Miller Williams prize for his book Walking with Eve in the Loved City, is the author of seven books of poetry; including, most recently, American Loneliness from Lost Horse Press, who is bringing out a new & selected in 2020. He has published poetry in december, The Southern Review, New Letters, Crazyhorse, Shenandoah, Blackbird, Prairie Schooner, and Rattle among others.