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POETRY / america chose to drown in the desert / Darren C. Demaree / Writer of the Month


i have heard the orchestra of children discovering that we cage any thrust of the garden before it can become the garden that we take the clay to hold our flowers before they can take the clay to carry water to their mouths that we are all limb and muscle and lost vein and we have never had the heart for a nation that could survive the distinction between breathing and being forced to consume an unhealthy air a measured and wild sharing of the landscape we can compost sure but we compost the native beauty before we can think to name the bloom before we ever thought to ask what the bloom was already called we are staggeringly qualified to end all life on this planet because we have already pulled a nation of mountains and rivers into the desert to bum-rush the emerging children of the i cannot stop thinking about the children as they ask for their parents in a way so raw and searching that it frames the love i have for my own children as something like a funeral avoided a funeral held without bodies because all of the bodies have been separated from each other all of the bodies that once held each other cultivated distilled the purples hope can give into a perfume that rises towards the moon above the brush in a desert america chose to drown in when all america needed to do was allow each foot step to be a gift in the old way it was a gift but instead we opened our throats to meet the sun instead we looked into the eyes of children separated from their parents and called their brokenness the flood we’d been waiting for


originally appeared on Yes Poetry

Darren C. Demaree is the author of eleven poetry collections, most recently “Emily As Sometimes the Forest Wants the Fire”, (June 2019, Harpoon Books). He is the recipient of a 2018 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, the Louis Bogan Award from Trio House Press, and the Nancy Dew Taylor Award from Emrys Journal. He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.