Monday, June 17, 2013

POEM: She’s Off To Find The World And Herself (A Parent’s Final Exam On Flag Day, 2013)

The sky shows off its boredom in pale blue, the shade of a thresher shark’s cold indifference. A jet that is so high it is ghostly, glows as gray as a newborn. It leaves jet trails like autumn leaves in its wake.

It’s Flag Day. I hear parties going off all around me. Fireworks putt-pat against the warble of tree frogs whose trill questions everything. Laughter floats like the smell of stale beer from shattered bottles on a mocha breeze.

They are with their tribes, I think.
“Where is my tribe tonight?”

I think about children who grow up to fly to other continents because once we taught them not to be afraid of the world. Right about now, uniformed men all over this land gather, meeting to dispose of old American flags in the only approved of manner: wearing medals with multicolored ribbons and oversized pea-green jackets, with elephant ears and log-like noses, swaying to taps before flags laid out like soft coffins,
saluted, anthem-ized, hand-over-heart-sworn-to, drenched in kerosene then ignited.

Rising smoke is the soul that pools into clouds of a holy memory.

The serious sounds of growing old fill my head. She is off to Tanzania, Bolivia and Iceland. Colorful stamps will decorate her passport. I worry about the intercontinental travel of children who are no longer children, and of me, being a child again, without agency, afraid of the world and everything in it.

“I would give everything I own tonight to see her pearl face poke through that door right now,” I say every night, for a year, until she returns.


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