Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016

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Dear Virginia

in Culture/U.S. by

I’m all for second chances, but like Maya Angelou said,
“When someone shows you
who they are, believe them the first time.” Virginia,

I’m not crawling back to your creeks & dogwood,
your pink crape-myrtle. Virginia
is For Lovers. Straight, white, heteronormative

lovers. Mother of Presidents, blood on your hands,
in your dirt, on the plow,
you brought your pox blankets, your filth & stench,

cannon fire & muskets, so you’re purple now with bruising,
blistered finger on the trigger
of God Bless America & there are no take-backs. A promise

is a promise, Virginia. I don’t owe you anything. I can’t stand
your humidity, but I’m there for your
Spring: everything blossoming & me lying under the tree

watching shadows move across the face of the moon,
your milky magnolia with their pistil
& bloom. Virginia, you & me, we come from bad seed,

colonizing greed, your Confederacy with its slave ships
& horsewhips
             Charlottesville          Heather Heyer
                                    blackface          white hoods
                 Lee-Jackson-Day      MLK gun rally      really
You’re not sorry

Virginia, you don’t fool me. You used to hold
my head in your lap
& rock me to sleep, you & your 9mm

semiautomatic dreams, you let my brother
bleed out in your streets & if I
return, it won’t be your beauty that seduced me.

Look, I once had a place on Monument Avenue. I’ve
seen the statues that divide it in two.
I’ve had the years & the distance to think this all through,

but the people I love still live in you, so tell me Virginia,
                                                              what would you do?

 

________

Kim Harvey is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee and Associate Editor at Palette Poetry. You can find her work in Poets Reading the News, Rattle, Radar, Barren Magazine, Comstock Review, Kissing Dynamite, and elsewhere. Twitter: @kimharveypoet.

Photo by Mobilus in Mobili.

________

As the statues around them fall, two Lee monuments in Virginia remain
[The Hill]

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