This is America


With head bowed low, she walks in
a mélange of foreign voices,
Hesitant, she marvels at the audacity
of declarative sentences.

Nobody is a loser here,
everybody a winner,
they absolve themselves of doubt,
secure in their self knowledge of greatness
that the other did not recognize.

Behind the glare of constant smiles,
pain hides in consternation,
nothing here is as bad as it seems
happiness a mantra they chant and seek.

Freedom is what they fight for
being individualistic is what they wish,
what she saw at the station
was a sea of uniform heads instead,
rushing to meet their deadlines of destiny,
This crowd of early morning risers,
of supple limb and daily gymming.

On the other side of the university town,
freedom is worn in half drawn pants.
Defiant bodies swagger on the street
in rhythmic arcs,
in pointed speech.
In this alley of taped up doors,
fear clothed in fun
ignores the lurking police cars.

Another culture of conformity
She thinks,
this country that prides on individuality
has successfully ghettoized insecurity,
each group screams their freedom song,
trapped in bonds of acceptable mores.

Six months later,
she walks fast, talks smart and with speed
says thank you to every class and creed
(including the janitor and the stranger on the street).
She walks with purpose, head held high
confidence reposes in her body and mind,
she melts into the hybrid pool of the university,
another kind of American in the making.


© Enisha Sarin, 2014

Public Domain Photo