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A New Colossus

A Celebration of Our America

In Memoriam

White is a state of mind. Spangled. Blinding,
Shining sky awash in all its shining. White arms    
Spread wide claimed she was friendly, cried she was 
Mighty, then tracked her mud across my shore, 
Gilded lamp lifting to hawk a fantasy. Eyes torched
Dark with snake-oil, heeled vision burnt in blood,
In blood ransacked what hungered me, then built
A fence that voids me still. Mother, illegal, Mother-in-exile,
Spurned unworthy, told “Go back to your country,” Mother
Still yearning to breathe. Free. Been tired, been poor, 
Been wretched, barricaded, huddled mass ’cross stolen 
Centuries, undocumenting liberty. Goodbye to all of that. 
World-born-wrong, how freedom preens red-throated 
From your jail. Here lies her empty. Here lies her brass 
Corona, her rusted. Colossus drowned under artless seas. 
I, too, will miss America.
 
    • Listen: Safiya Sinclair reciting In Memoriam

Safiya Sinclair

Safiya Sinclair was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica. She is the author of Cannibal (University of Nebraska Press, 2016), winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award ...