The America I Know Could Use a Good Cry

I met America at a neighborhood bar.

He offered me a shot of rum and I reminded him
that Captain Morgan was a slave owner,
so the bartender awkwardly slipped another
liquid lie down my throat. I ordered another drink
and was channeled by dark spirits.
The courage of black ghosts who haunt American dreams.

I told him I loved him and I wanted him to sleep well.
“But I know I’ve been in your nightmares,”
I said. “I want to be your friend, but only
if it’s a deep relationship. Only if you show me
that you are not scared of your baggage.
Bring your whole history to the table.”

America cracked open another beer
as a tear ran down his face. He said,

“I was born in a house not my own, and my
fathers demanded that their portraits
hang on every wall. White paint covers
each brown brick and our backyard is a museum
of unmarked graves.”

“Despite this, a garden grows,” I said.
“And every home can be torn down
and rebuilt again.”

“But I’ve been told I shouldn’t completely
let you in,” he said. “Some people in my family
stand in the doorway, blocking the entrance.”

He left before I could tell him that my people
have a history of finding ways inside broken spaces
and making them whole again.