Of Thee I Sing

Ocean Vuong

We made it, baby.

We're riding in the back of the black

limousine. They have lined

the road to shout our names.

They have faith in your golden hair

& pressed blue suit.

They have a good citizen

in me. I love my country.

I pretend nothing is wrong.

I pretend not to see the man

& his blonde daughter diving

for cover, that you're not saying

my name & it's not coming out

like a slaughterhouse.

I'm not really Jackie-O

& there isn't a hole in your head, a brief

rainbow through a mist

of rust. I love my country

but who am I kidding? I'm holding

your brains in, darling.

my sweet, sweet Jack.

I'm reaching across the trunk

for a shard of your memory,

the one where we kiss & the nation

glitters. Your slumped back.

Your hand letting go. You're all over

the seat now, deepening

my fuschia dress. But I'm a good

citizen, surrounded by Jesus

& ambulances. I love

this country. The twisted faces.

My country. The blue sky. Black

limousine. My one white glove

glistening pink—with all

our American dreams.