We Could Use an American

by Mignon Ariel King
The Waters
First Place, October 2019
Judged by Laurie Byro

There’s already a Greek, who cannot make
the simplest baklava. But her stories over
expensive wine bought by the East Indian
who speaks like a Raja — such a delightful

person to have around. And our Turk bakes
bread and fish. Loaves and loaves. Best
with better butter. The Irishman pulls one’s
foot. All the time, the laughter with this

one. He calls it the jibber-jabber. That’s a
poem, yes? You like poetry, I hear. Yes,
we could use an American. You were
born here right? You can buy medicines?

I am a sucker for poems about travel and also enjoy learning facts about other countries. With so much dissention regarding America and Americans, "We Could Use an American" gets my vote with its sly, well observed stereotyping, the repetition in "loaves and loaves," the sounds of "better butter" and "jibber jabber" and the mysterious politics of "you can buy medicines" that had me going to the internet. --Laurie Byro