I stopped standing for the pledge
in Elementary school, egged on
by my British friend who also
is source of my “u” in favour
and colour (matters black
and white, now grey).
Learning of the Trail of Tears
nailed any vestige of my nationality
to a cross on the prairie.
When I traveled to Europe,
I tried to be transparent iguana,
when in Rome, though Greek to me;
when asked, I said I was Canadian,
for who would ally with the ugly
American on the train, ousting
a pregnant waif with, “I paid
two hundred and fifty American dollars
for that seat, and that’s a lot
of croissants!” It gets worse.
Do you have the heart for this?
Arrests and activism and anarchy
as more than anthem, geography
and invention, the shaky promise
of an individualism that chimed
in the treetops in accents
of Guthrie, Hill, and Holiday.
With today’s daily horror
and disaffection, my country ‘tis
on the verge of disassembly
and destruction. Now I’m ready
to stand up for that pledge.