Poetry: “Rhapsody on Independence Day” by Evan Beaty

The psalmists have all gone underground

with armfuls of tortoiseshell inkwells and yellowed paper

and their bodies and horses’ bodies wrapped in a rind

of sour-tasting fog. All their wives are blonde

but not the type that cries at airports or major

abandonments of the more permanent sort. They are in their

houses making buttermilk biscuits, whistling entire

new American operettas. Their attics rattle. The preacher

at the Methodist picnic is blessing everything, saying God made us just

to love him back. Why was God not sufficient for himself? One must admire

how nobody asks this question. Instead they cut the thick-crusted

pies studded with little flags, then wipe their children’s noses.

Monticello sings with green today, but it’s hard to hear for the speeches,

Sousa, cheering sticky tourists. All those old Free World poses.

The taxmen are coming in through first-floor windows, tickling infants

in their cribs, taking the sugar bowl, the rocking chair, the coal.

There are tiny bubbles in the belly fat of this land. In an instant

it will fall away from the forests and hills to warm the gasping foals

and renew the farmed-out soil. The poor will render it into soap.

Take the underresearched pills. Have a cry. Put corn syrup

in your mouth and car and hair. Have a menthol.

A young woman is sitting on a stile somewhere in New England

and counting everything she sees. No, she is only a large doll.

Counting, counting. Meet me at the stile. Kiss me. Count me.