Kathleen Graber
America (Peaches)

America, if you think I could do better by you,

I have no doubt. Though I stoop conscientiously

to pick up my dog’s waste from the grass

with black biodegradable bags. And lest you suspect

some pretension, know my dog was the one at the shelter

no one else would take. He is fat & lazy,

& I could do better by him as well, though

I do not know if a long walk in the park

in 97 degree heat is a good idea. Please cue

a Presidential sound-bite to reassure me

all hearts are more resilient than I think. I confess

it would have been a moral error to have embraced him

if I did not have the means to keep him fed. But

I am writing tonight because there is something wrong

with your peaches. The ones from the supermarket

were so soft & cheap—half the cost of the ones

sold by the local farm—but the flesh near the pit

was so bitter & green. It is a fruit like the mind

we are making together: both overripe & immature.

Trust me, I still have the simple tastes you gave me:

I am delighted by the common robins & cardinals,

the way they set the trees at dusk aflame. Thank you

for Tuesday’s reliable trash collection. If you are

constellated somehow, a little bit inside

each of your people, I am sorry that there is more

& more of you lately I do not understand.

Sometimes I want simply to sit alone a long time

in silence. America, you must want this too.

Found In Volume 41, No. 05
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Kathleen Graber
About the Author

Kathleen Graber is the author of The Eternal City (2010), a finalist for the National Book Award, and Correspondence (2006), winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and a finalist for the National Poetry Series. Her honors include a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, an Artist Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Hodder Fellowship in Creative Writing at Princeton University, and an Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship.