The headlines keep calling
our country “his,” America
just another woman, daughter
of conquest, a stolen jewel
in his cocked crown. He caught
America by her throat and bought
her silence. Another version of
the Dream: his team of surgeons
carving a nation as if she is a basted
bird, separating leg, breast, thigh. Slabs
and slivers. Under his fist he holds
the power of history. Less than half of
all the arms raised were for him.
But he is made of surface
area, claims 85% of what we see
on a map of the body, its non-consenting
states. His presidential title lassoed
by a lineage of laws, of lines drawn
back when a black person counted
as 60% of a life, he grabs
what he believes belongs to him.
How American, his habit of taking
as much as he can land
his hands on—whatever
we will let him get away with.
Emily Ruth Hazel is a New York City-based poet and writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including Magnolia: A Journal of Women’s Socially Engaged Literature, Kinfolks: A Journal of Black Expression, and Ruminate Magazine. In 2014, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship to develop a full-length poetry book manuscript during a residency at The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences. Her previous collection of poetry, Body & Soul (Finishing Line Press), was a New Women’s Voices finalist.