Cow’s Skull: Red, White, and Blue

Written By Alex La Loggia


The skull says “Come to America,

We are all dead here.”

It is peaceful, it croons, to be buried underneath

the strength of the desert sky.


So I walked towards the horizon

until the desert took my name.

And crumbled it to dust

under an unforgiving boot.


And on the skyline there is heat.

The glory of red, white, and blue

has been tossed to the wind.

Bending to the gentle will of a purple sunrise.


And on the ground there are bodies,

bare but for the stark ivory of bones.

They lay carefully beneath the watchful stars.

There are so many stars.


I know they are dead, too.

But the skull does not say this,

it only looks up with pinprick eyes

And thinks how pretty the stars would feel

If they gently brushed his horns.


I look up to them, but

Within them I cannot find what I’m looking for.

So I say, “It’s not like the city,”

The skull says, “What city?

I have seen no cities here.” 


And I must look into its eyes.

It has nothing left.

Nothing left but the black wings of a hawk 

That beat strong against the desert sky.


So I say “Nothing,

there is only the desert here in America.”

And it is true

to say I only know the dust on my face. 


And the way the wind sounds 

just like a holy prayer, whispered

Into the ear of an unbeliever. 


The skull settles with its black eyes closed. 

It will never again move from this place.

“That, I have always known,” it says.


I will stay with it, always.

And we will be here, dead and dry.

Looking up at that world

of neon blue above us.


Again and again the wind prays,

“We are all dead, here in America.”

“We are all dead, here in America.”