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Sonnets to Edward Snowden

Michael Robbins

Who is the United States?
The grassy knoll elaborates.
Ask not what the Dew can do for you.
Ask about our special rates

for armed forces personnel.
All right, then, I’ll go to hell.
These colors don’t run—
red, white, and carbohydrate gel.

Navy SEALs are good to go
for AvP 2.0.
All along the White House fence

the Redskins mascot leads the chants.
Full fathom five Osama lies.
The blue-chip Dow industrials rise.




Who is the United States?
A snail paces by the Golden Gate’s
anti-swan-dive hotline sign.
The snail is going to be fine.

Disabling a suicide
detector is prohibited.
A snail searches a starless sky
with the bionic arm he calls an eye.

The stars have got the bee disease.
The disappearing colonies
are no longer buzzworthy.

So ferry cross New Jersey.
I’m a black kid in a hoodie.
This land’s the place I love. Et odi.




Who is the United States?
A grief ago—I’m bad with dates—
our fathers brought forth a queer
shoulder in a convex mirror.

I find it hard.
It was hard to found.
Unscrew the lids from the jars!
Prometheus outbound

on Aeroflot follows the Moskva
down to Gorky Park.
I’m proud to be a terrorist.

Mistakes were made at Plymouth Rock.
You might not be aware of this.
The ant’s a centaur, more or less.