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Tuesday, March 27, 2018


by Philip C. Kolin

Image by Mark Sumner, Daily Kos.

We live in a land of limits;
expanses have been deleted

from the perforated pages of our history.
People way back could breathe more.

Fresh air was not a negotiable item then.
Flags were cleaner, too.

And when the country was crafted,
we rejoiced in different names

to be filled with syllables
from around the world.

Our borders were elastic—
and broad-hearted America stretched beyond

a continent. And into the horizon.
We offered settlers so much

distance. We're shriveling
now into a walled street armory

of tight fists, deficits, and elected misfits
who want to put a tariff

on spacious skies.

Philip C. Kolin is the University Distinguished Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi where he also edits the Southern Quarterly. He has published more than 40 books on Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, African American playwrights as well as  seven collections of poems. His most recent book  is Emmett Till in Different States: Poems from Third World Press.