“And Then What America, And Then What?”


What if California wasn’t the end of possibility?

Gleaming out past Alcatraz and Coronado—

someplace real to reach, if only you could walk across the water.


Forget Manifest Destiny. What is ever manifest?

What is destined? Today is only lupine yesterday

wrapped up warmly in fresh wool.


Call it The Inevitable Bliss, or if you like,

call it Best Western, the place where they have

to take you in when Home turns you away.


What would you say to such a sunset,

to the glittering waves conjured by the moon?

I’ll say I’m the brother of the water when I mean I’m the sister of the air.


What if we have always had this, this more-than-we-had-ever-imagined?

What if all this time we’ve lived in dread

of the end of something that just goes on and on . . .


and then what, America, and then what?


R.G. Evans‘s books include Overtipping the Ferryman, The Noise of Wings, and The Holy Both. His original music has been featured in the poetry documentaries All That Lies Between Us and Unburying Malcolm Miller. Evans teaches high school and college English and creative writing in southern New Jersey. For more, visit his website. “And Then What America, And Then What?” was first published in TLR: Manifest Destiny, and again in TLR: Current Events, the 60th Anniversary Issue