Warp & Weft: Surrender Betsy, Ms. Ross

Deep winter. Quiet at its
lowest frequency. You are founding
a religion with your rage. Rage
threads the needle, rage snaps the thread,
rage unspools your patriotic intentions.

You are knitting beneath bald trees
with their scarves of dirty snow. Your ambition
is proof. Your dream, a smoky eye,
a Rosie Riveter glower.

You work your needle and sew
with rage’s rodent hands
until a blizzard blows in, a flag of surrender—
time for an intercessory prayer:

Hallowed be thy name in the dawn’s early light
deliver us from the land of the free
o, say can you see our trespasses
the rocket’s red glare is my shepherd
full of grace (and also with you)
as I walk through the valley  
of the twilight’s last gleaming, the hour of our death
with thy rod and thy staff,
forgive me, father,
comfort me
forever and ever
amen

 

Cindy King, while born in Cleveland, Ohio, considers herself a naturalized Southerner, having lived in Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama (and North Florida). Her work has appeared in Callaloo, North American Review, African American Review, American Literary Review, jubilat, The Louisville Review, Sou’wester, Blackbird, River Styx, TriQuarterly, Cimarron Review, Black Warrior, The Cincinnati Review, The Pinch, and elsewhere. Though technically not the South, she currently lives in Southern Utah and teaches at Dixie State University.

 

(Photo credit: Flickr.)