america, on the edge

Written by Stuti Desai
Art by BeansandSausages

when she falls (girl choking
blood, soldier stitched shatter-
boned) know it was not without
grace, know it was not intentional.

beloved, when she falls, brush
rough palms over the songs of
your hometown and sing them
to her. if you cannot sing, cough them.

america, of godhood. america,
scavenger-taker, clumsy-handed
giver. know she did what she had to do
to protect her exposed ankles, know she died running.

know she gave you her
arms and her heart and the
beauty mark on her shoulder.

when she falls, she takes
progress with her for progress is self-contained
pushes forward without america,
but there is no america without progress.

america, bird-boned, glass-eyed
singing through the rock in her
throat. america, screaming, learning
how to teeter along the ledge.

america & I, sprinting always, side-
by-side, teaching ourselves the streets of the other,
teaching each other how to live along the edge,
learning, slowly, to hold our chins up & brace for the fall.