I find myself noticing you again
eight years later,
you coming out of the earth, pale,
erect, shadow over men.
You can’t be buried.
You are Washington, White
House manicured lawn,
Navy band in starched bleach and crease.
Timid flowers all form neat rows before you,
lines cleaner than a border,
sharp as the mark you cut against the sky,
a man’s quill tip
engraving his name. Yes,
you must insist upon yourself,
white as a presidential slogan
stitched against a red, red rage.
Once I read all over the Roman Empire
stolen out of Africa. In America
they construct their own,
name them for a man who owned
Africans, built a white nation
(always insisting upon itself).
Here, man wants to make himself monument,
peak gleaming as a Klansman’s hood
rising into night,
an elevation he thought was always his,
ghastly return of his mind’s making,
a making: America
over and over again.
by Daria-Ann Martineau
from Split This Rock