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Sasha Banks (she/her/hers) reads her poem, "uhmareka, post collapse: three."

Sasha Banks:

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Hi, I'm Sasha Banks, and I will be reading "uhmareka, post collapse: three" from my debut collection of poetry, America, MINE.

And I chose this poem because I think  in a time that feels very, um, hopeless, I feel like it's important to let people know that  what we're actually seeing is the end of an empire and what do you want to see in the future? What is the next thing you want to see?

So I think it's important to think about that  and envision that and feel empowered by that. You will remember nothing but the taste  of salt and how it’s in everything,   and how it never changes even though everything else does, and so you will cry and cry and be fed. A woman will stand in the street and  open her mouth, one summer night.   Noiseless for hours until she retches  up a star, hot thing covered in mucus.

I want to say something like it turns out that the sun had a face, which implies a mouth that knew all your names, but the truth is there will never have been any sun; only the North star, after all. It will fall down and land behind a woman’s house, in Detroit. It will be dark for weeks,  and everyone’s eyes will glow.

Here and now will be the faded kind  of memory like waking from a dream   that loosens its grip as you become wider  and wider awake. At the grocery store, you will hear someone whistling the old anthem. They will not be able to remember more than “oh say can you…?” Nobody will.

Such is the case with ruins, ancient histories, blurry faces everywhere smeared  by the fists of their conquerors. Before today ends, statues will be plucked from  their high places all over the country; this should be the first sign, but white people will not see themselves in this sure demise. They will learn.

There will be no flag, anymore. Many will dream of eagles eaten by crows; pecked to death by crows. A woman will tell of seeing a crow  pulling all the feathers from a dead eagle.   None will remember this time, but the crows will.

And so they will eat the grudge for your sakes. America will be done and you will know  it when the statue of liberty sits down   to wash her face in the Hudson; her skin will be black. Your grandmothers will weep.