Dear America: Poems From the End of the Road

end of the road, poem

Excerpt by Erin Coughlin Hollowell

Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance and Democracy (An Excerpt)


As Americans are being forced into isolation, fearing for the future, and uncertainty of jobs and lives, a new book from the editors of Terrain.org offers hope and assurance in this time of political, economic, and personal strife: Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy

Dear America

In this patriotic anthology, hundreds of writers, poets, artists, scientists, and political and community leaders (young and old) have come together sharing their impassioned letters to America.

More than 130 works, all calls to action for common ground and conflict resolution with a focus on the environment and social justice, are collected in Dear America.


Dear America,

Dear Prairie Dog Town, Dear Corn Palace, Dear Largest Potato in the World,

Dear worn-out sneakers,

Dear Little Gem Diner windows covered with condensation from a hundred conversations and three stale pots of coffee at 2 a.m.,

Dear giant wood roaches that press their bodies onto the hot pavement after dark in a parking lot behind a community theater in Macon, Georgia,

Dear red apples in the hands of three children getting on the subway at 135th Street Station,

Dear statue of the Virgin Mary in a rusted out bathtub in the front yard,

Dear empty coffee mug on the desk of a woman still working in her cubicle at 3 a.m.,

Dear grocery carts, Dear pecans, Dear rhythmic tick of sprinklers on golf-courses,

Dear old roan mare carrying a teenage girl who wants to go to college and become a doctor,

Dear glacier missing the snow but insisting on blue shine even under persistent grey clouds,

Dear canvas jacket on the man nurturing the bougainvillea vine along the top of his unattached garage, his wife in the kitchen singing over dinner,

Dear bougainvillea with its blossoms like the memory of a first dance,

Dear origami cranes folded by a dancer visiting an arctic village after another suicide,

Dear old communist in his favorite threadbare grey cardigan opening up his bookstore with its shelves full of writing by Shakespeare and Milton and other long dead white guys,

Dear plastic bags on the feet of the woman sitting behind the Quick Stop on the turnpike,

Dear half-built house with an ocean view whose yard is subsiding into the sea,

Dear huckleberry milkshake sitting on a picnic table in Paradise, Montana,

Dear young man with the new snow machine that he bought with his summer salmon fishing wages,

Dear Trump signs in the yard of a big house where a tired man unloads a lawnmower out of his 1982 dented, once-red Chevy pick-up,

Dear jewel-green moss growing on the side of a fence in front of a mobile home on a back-road in Oregon, Dear goat cheese for sale, Dear thrown away folding chair,

Dear caskets, Dear malls, Dear AK-15s,

Dear mason jar of water on the porch next to the woman who just hoed twenty rows of beans,

Dear eagles on their nest above the front-end loader scraping the ground beneath their cottonwood tree,

Dear sound of pebbles being tumbled in surf,

Dear key-card being slipped back into the pocket as the elevator goes up fifty-eight flights,

Dear charred chili pepper, Dear Piggly Wiggly Grocery Store, Dear snow shovel,

Dear library book drop,

Dear brown bear sleeping in her den, cubs two months from being born,

Dear sunrise, relentless and shifting,

When will we open our eyes to our fellow travelers? When will we see?

Sincerely,
one small person at the end of the road


Erin Coughlin Hollowell is an Alaskan poet, the executive director of Storyknife Writers Retreat, and a teacher for the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference and the University of Alaska Anchorage low-residency MFA program.


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