My friend, America

poetry 0
Michael Bazzett


I get it. There is nothing inherently
creepy about an empty swing swinging
on an abandoned playground. But
the ghost pushing it is a problem.
You remind of my friend, America.
She used to say weird things, like,
“All men are created equal.” And:
“The fact that my heart is a sieve
means it holds other hearts within
and lets everything else drain away.”
Mostly that means blood, but also
other matter. Like the cloudy fluid
of memory. You’re not meant to
ask about origins. This country is
a colander. It holds what it wants,
wipes down easily, but the rivets
are showing rust. It is not dusk.
The sun is high so we’re finally
seeing things. What did you expect?
Happiness is there to taunt us.
Why else merely promise its pursuit?

Michael Bazzett’s chapbook, The Temple, was published by Bull City Press in 2020, and his fourth collection of poems, The Echo Chamber, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in 2021. His work has appeared in The Sun, The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, Threepenny Review, and Ploughshares, and his verse translation of the Mayan creation epic, The Popol Vuh (Milkweed, 2018), was named one of 2018’s ten best books of poetry by The New York Times.