About this Poem 

"I’ve been exploring how the 19th century concept of manifest destiny—driving the westward expansion across North America in the 1800s—might play out in the context of a modern-day relationship. What frontiers in ourselves, our environments, and each other do we seek out and attempt to dominate? What motivates us to forge towards the unknown?"
—Cynthia Lowen

Manifest Destiny

Cynthia Lowen

The god I’d left behind sent one last email 
before returning to his people.

That summer was sixty-five degrees and fluorescent. 
I was working at a law firm.

The logical mind thinks,
You’ll be paid for your suffering.

Paradise is of this earth 
and it is yours,
said the copy-machine.

The impenetrable old growth of paper on my desk 
begged to be made
irrelevant.

When I took off my skirt-suit I felt like my mother, or myself

done pretending 
to be my mother.

I stood at the edge 
of a New World.

I stared up the long rocky coast.

Whichever way was something to bump against 
I pressed on in that direction.

It was like a sickness.
It was like the uncontrollable urge 
to eat dirt.

Copyright © 2013 by Cynthia Lowen. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 27, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Cynthia Lowen. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 27, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Cynthia Lowen