Issue 25, Winter-Spring 1961
Curtis, you’ve been American too long.
You don’t know what it feels like. You belong.
Don’t you, too entirely to explain?
You wheeled a ‘bike, meeting us off the train.
I ask you! Who, besides the Bradfords, are
Licensed in Iowa not to run a car.
Like all the rest? Or are there names perhaps
In Iowa still, to match the names on maps,
Burgundian or Picard voyageurs
Prowling the wilderness for France and furs
On the Des Moines river? It should seem New France,
Not your New England, has pre-eminence
If to belong means anything. But your smile
(Twisted) admits it doesn’t. Steadily, while
You on the seaboard, they in Canada
Dribbled from floods of European war
Boiled in small pools, pressure built up behind
The dams of Europe. Dispossessed mankind.
Your destined countrymen, milled at dock-gates;
Emigrant schooners spilled aboard the States;
The dispossessed, the not to be possessed.
The alone and equal, peopled all the West.
Curtis, what is it I am asking for.