Dear Thomas

A Poem by George Rawlins

Couldn’t America be the father
you lost, the mother you failed? America, whose

philosophers are bookkeepers,
whose great thinkers lure acolytes

with clickbait. In a week you’ll master
code and make the bangers and mash to buy

the games you’ll need to patter flash
the melancholy. If you sail ‘round

the cape and meet me at the Golden Gate,
chain link will keep us from the bluest

water. We’ll float on that painted sunset, just
beyond the reach of doubt. Thomas, be

patient, save your pence, and stow away on the first
three-master to the New World, or the next.

George Rawlins has a BA from Ohio University and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. He has recent publications in The Common, New Critique (UK), New World Writing, and Nine Mile. His forthcoming poetry collection, Cheapside Afterlife (April 2021, Longleaf Press), reimagines in 57 sonnets the life of the 18th-century poet Thomas Chatterton.

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