Waltz of the White Bird a Cloud Against the Sky

by Josh Bettinger

Let’s go to America and smoke cigarettes.
Let’s go to America

and remove our selves from painful equations
that ricochet from pixel to pixel—
a darkening dream in the foreground of the city.

Let’s remember how speculation led us
into the thicket of our dying
every time we turned the power on

in rooms made circular by apathy and the sound
of lives deferred. Let’s use the noise as a lever.

Let’s go to America and drink its water
from cups made of fire. Let’s find it
again so we can hold it up in its own tourmaline sky
like a surrendering general. Let’s

move sideways against the current
and let’s be solvent and let’s open doors
and please, just once in the dark,

let’s kiss the lovers on their mouths
so real air can find its way into their hearts once more.

Josh Bettinger is a poet and editor whose work has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, journals in the United States, England, Ireland, and Canada including Oxford Poetry, Salt Hill Journal, Western Humanities Review, Handsome Poetry, SLICE, The Los Angeles Review, Crazyhorse, and Boston Review, among others. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and children.