Thursday, June 5, 2008

Taking My Cousin's Photo at the Statue of Liberty--Richard Blanco

May she never miss the sun or the rain in the valley
trickling from the palm trees, or the plush red earth,
or the flutter of sugarcane fields and flamboyant, or
the endless hem of turquoise sea around the island,
may she never remember the sea or her life again
in Cuba selling glossy postcards of the revolution
and T-shirts of Che Guevara to sweating Canadians
at the Hotel More gift shop, may she never forget
the broken toilet and peeling stucco of her room
in a government partitioned mansion dissolving
like a sand castle back into the bay of Cienfuegos,
may she never have to count the dollars we'd send
for her wedding dress, or save egg rations for a cake,
may she fall in love with America like I once did,
with its rosy-cheeked men in breeches and white wigs
with the calligraphy of our Liberty and Justice for All,
our We The People, may she memorize all fifty states,
our rivers and mountains, sing God Bless America
like she means it, like she's never lived anywhere
else but here, may she admire our wars and our men
on the moon, may she believe our infomercials, buy
designer perfumes and underwear, drink Starbucks,
drive a V-8 SUV, and have a dream, may she never
doubt America as I have, may this be her country
as I still want it to be for me when she lifts her Coke
into the June sky and clutches her faux Chanel purse
to her chest, may she look into New York Harbor
for the rest of her life and hold still when I say, Smile.

--Richard Blanco

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