Looked at en masse, you are the country:
in your eyes and hair there are provinces
and regions and ecologies, local traditions,
ghost stories, breaks and mends.
Up close and from afar, the view is plain:
here is history, welling up. History comes to wet view
in this old earth, a new spring emerging.
The thirsty are preparing to drink from you.
When this flow breaks through it will carry
much before it. Some things will fall,
some will be skewed aside and there will be
cries of pain and distress from those
taken in the flood. When it happens,
I beg you to keep looking, as I will,
into the faces around you, the eyes
that are the mountains, the mouths
that are the canyons, the hands
that are the memories of coal miners, farmers,
villagers, city folk, slaves and servants
and rich and poor artists and crafters;
keep looking at this country that tried
to be complete and never was whole;
keep seeing the people who were the
carriers of its imperfect hope, and keep thinking
of the cold, clear water they all prayed
to drink. Keep thinking of that water
covering the land. Keep thinking of
every thirst quenched, someday.
You are the country. You are
the name and the land and the heart
of conception. In your eyes and hair,
the country. In your mouths, its hope.