George Washington's Tomb

a girl stands in front of george washington’s tomb

knowing full well

that all that remains is patriotic dust

to her left is the caretaker, standing by

the only witness to her reverence

to her right are magnolia trees

full snow blooms drowning in the jellied air

sunshine breaking like glass through the leaves

she decides to be alone, hushed, unmoving,

at rest for the moment


a chinese-american girl stands in front of george washington’s tomb

cinching, clutching, clasping for america

praying to love america

enough to make it better

in her gilded tears,

cerulean blue dreams,

and pacific-bound grail

she remembers her family’s jade chains

pulling themselves to a land of

two-story houses,

red-tinted accents,

and a second child

in ballet studios,

music classes,

drenched with paint,

who only now realizes the sacrifice for each drop of gouache,

each string plucked,

each plié,

while standing in front of a patriot’s last resting place


a citizen of the united states of america stands in front of george washington’s tomb

wondering if the first president ever built a nation

with her in mind,

she wonders if her right to claim her citizenship

is like the tomb she gazes into so intently

always ten feet away

iron gated and shrouded in misty stillness

she feels a string pulling her closer

now livid, she goes to seize answers from the Father of a nation

a single petal falls

she claps her hands,

lets tranquility raise its hand in greeting

reminds herself of the solemn, splendid joy

of sideway walks, bare feet on concrete, green lawns during a setting suburban sun

of home cooked foods, hot chocolate warming her, snow settling the air

and of standing in front of a tomb belonging to a mute Founding Father

she is now demanding answers from herself


a woman stands in front of george washington’s tomb

a tourist group rushes in from the right

they cut through the iron-bar silence,

welders breaking her spell

she walks away from george washington’s tomb

overflowing with revelation

claiming her new quietude

she can hear her friends chattering on the horizon,

and picks up her pace to join them,

fully in the present,

finally herself

she passes goats and sheep grazing in peace

their mouths a motor, steampowered

she walks by, greets them as friends

then continues her queenly stride

she is reborn


- Kaitlyn Fa


Cover photo source: https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/general-george-washington-17321799-169070