Americas Soul

By Naomi McPeters



My heart bleeds for the soul of America.

I suppose I am nothing,
I am no one to you
Because I don't bow at your altars
Or worship your God in the way that you do.

I worship Him
In spirit and truth
So when you reject me from your heartland
Remember you are rejecting your own heart, too.

My heart weeps for you, America,
And the many mothers you bore
Who rejected their own children.
Mine rejected me too.

Your mother locked those chains onto you,
Your mother wouldn't let you sing
Your way to freedom
Because she knew, she knew,
That God means freedom
And when you lifted your voice to Him,
He would break her hold over you.
Mine too, mine too.

I, too, am angry
And maybe it's a sin
Do we know any other way to live
--Except in this silence--
Which is our worst enemy
And our closest friend.

In saving our souls
She ravaged their deepest corridors
Drove us away into the wilderness of Hagar,
Out of hatred for the children that never belonged to her,
Where we lay shielding our eyes from the view
Of our own disintegration
Into the blood red soil
That birthed you, too.

America, you reject my birthright.
Yet, I am one of you.
America, my mother, I am sorry for you.

I, I hold back
Because I
Am afraid to become your rage that raped a nation
Afraid to fall into the tendency to stop
Because no one ever taught me to keep going
When the roads get too rough
Afraid when your God sends a hurricane
To wipe your sons and daughters away.

I am not a woman of rage
I do not become the one who screams her soul into the wounds
Of the ones you could not bear
I bore
You away
So help me
I cry for my body and soul
For my memory
To be returned to me
This history of forgetting
Will never allow me to forget you.

I am your child, too, America
I belong to you
I am your daughter
Even when I learn I did not come from you
When I learn your mother lost her children, too

Where is she? Where is your mother?
As if her soul is not within me
As if I was lost
As if there is something missing
You have stripped me of my holiness
Of my sin
I am nothing
But a crucified semblance of your doctrine
That raped me of my soul.

What happened to the arms that restore
Our God to us
Like a mother hen I would gather you under my wings
I will be both father and mother to you
But you fled from before
The presence of the Lord.

I was born
Within the walls of a cold hospital room
In the arms of a woman who didn’t want to let me go
But had to
I was born
Inside the heartbeat of woman
Who sang to me while I was in her womb
She knew me as her own
She can’t have me.

I was born
Into a home where a childless mother
Bore sins of her own
Taking in children to erase them.
In holiness she watched over my soul
Gathered me under her wings and never let me go
Even when her soul would split and I could see the tendons and the bones
My own
Sucked out of me
Born, with an empty void
Where there should have been words.

While I begged from beneath her wings
to see the skies some call America
And the God some call Lord
I watched her surrender her lifeblood, and yours
Hating all you pursued
If what you want to hear
Is I am nothing without you,
Then that is it,
I am nothing. My soul belongs to you.