American Nightmare

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Sara Azoulay/The Observer

By JOHN HAROLD
Academy of American Poets Prize Co-Winner

I got highway dreams
Stuck in Catholic traffic
Streams of sun scream
To a merciful dusk

Warm ribbons of iron
Tie a beautiful knot
Which road do we take?
I’m asking the dust

Muscle and bone
And leather and steel
In the name of the father
Lies the grave of the son

Run, little Mary
Away from this place
I got only four wheels
To prove myself on

The sky’s three shades of black
And three shades of blue
I won’t send you flowers
Or a blood diamond ring

I’m a bone-thug cobra
I was born in the rain
Had an American Dream
I woke up, trembling