What Rough Beast | Poem for April 12, 2017

Aimee Herman
Dear America,

We are on a break.

This isn’t the first time we’ve declared the need to test the waters and see other people, but what you’ve done this time, I’m not sure I can forgive. America, your tongue is dirty.

Your knees have not touched gravel enough and you smell. Not like New York City urine drenched, graffiti-ground-upin-potholes, fourth-day-of-forgotten bath. More like your climate is beginning to disrobe and all our coughs are coughing up smog.

The United States of America, you never ask me if it feels good when you touch me. You just lick my bones with your hate crimes and think it will turn me on.

I need space.

This isn’t about Canada, though I can’t pretend she’s not on my mind these days. You’ve made mistakes before:
dance crazes I couldn’t wrap my hips around
North Carolina, your ridiculous obsession with who uses your bathrooms
too many guns
your disregard for the need for free education
Sarah Palin

America, look at your hands! Covered in blood, slurs, misogyny, favoritism, forgetfulness, and all that locker room jargon lodged beneath your fingernails. Your red, white, and blue used to turn me on. All you needed to do was wave your flag and I was ready. You’d whisper Eleanor Roosevelt or Rocky Mountains and I’d lift myself onto you.

Now I’m screaming out my safe word because it’s just too much to bear:


Aimee Herman is the author of the poetry collections meant to wake up feeling (great weather for MEDIA, 2014), The Body Electric (CreateSpace, 2013), and to go without blinking (BlazeVOX, 2012). Aimee’s poems have appeared in journals including cream city review and BOMB and in the anthology Troubling the Line: Trans Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. Nightboat Books, 2013). Aimee is a queer writer, performance artist, and writing/literature teacher at Bronx Community College.

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