On the American Side by Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews

American, United Nations, and Canadian Flags on the Rainbow Bridge (Marking the International Border) with Niagara Falls in the Background. Photo by George Bailey. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

On the other side of the Falls
There is a country expanding.
Highways and cities growing south.
Outlet malls with good deals. Postcards
That burrow scenic streetscapes in memory’s summers.
Cities where catalpa trees blossom and tourists
In June, with their phone cameras capture yet another pic
With the Niagara River crashing into rocks and mist.
With their wild pink rose and orange blossom shirts
They speed star spangled in the wind on freeways
Red white and blue confederate flags waving back
A solemn salute to history, to our red and white maple leaf
Emblem too, while on the other side she remains, America!
Her name still burning
With the idealisms of democracy
Solid underpinning to some newly built wall
Red flag of something terribly gone wrong,
Hopefully soon, blowing away like smoke in the air.
When I saw her yesterday she was still there, Lady Liberty
Holding out a torch to the Atlantic.
Instead today we lower our heads to watch the sightseers
Wearing yellow raincoats in the rapids of Lady of the Mist.
What can we do there that we couldn’t do on this side of the map?
On the border bridge we stand, unaware of political entanglements.
We want to keep her flame burning.
We are poets looking at her
Like a lover looking at her.
She is the land before the cartographers
Dissected her with historical demarcations
From Canada to Mexico.
We take photos of the beauty
Of America, north and south.
We salute her.
The freedom in her.
Lady luck in New York Harbour
Beyond regressive fascisms.
With a torch of freedom forever burning.
Burning in our memories, etched in our century.

Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews is a poet and the host & coordinator of the Oakville Literary Cafe Series. Her new collection, Sunrise Over Lake Ontario, was published in 2019. Her previous poetry publications include: Sea Glass, The Whispers of Stones, The Red Accordion, Letters from the Singularity and A Jar of Fireflies. Josie’s poetry has been shortlisted for the Malahat Review’s Open Season Award, Descant’s Winston Collins Prize and The Canada Literary Review ’s Summer Poetry Competition, The Eden Mills Festival Literary Contest and the Henry Drummond Poetry Prize. Di Sciascio-Andrews’ poetry has won first place in Arborealis Anthology Contest and in Big Pond Rumours Literary E-Zine.

Visit Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews’ web page