What a Patriot Dreams
I saw the flags come down—
their masts falling like the trees
flattened by shockwaves
in those clips of old footage
from military nuclear bomb tests,
spliced into high school history documentaries.
They weren’t projected celluloid etchings
that teenagers confined to plastic chairs
could summarily cancel
with one hand motioning No
in the universal vernacular…
Caught in a wash of floodlights
on the indigo summer dusk,
the red-white-blue swaths crushed
in on themselves like torn parachutes,
& all vanished at once—deposed
by morning’s first, grainy insinuations
that breached the blinds’ periphery,
& accreted into a single, silent force
creeping along my bedroom walls,
as if to thwart illumination:
In this country of my own
birth & citizenship, I’ve, in turn,
given birth to two, precious children—
my riven heart’s two halves now trussed
in a spectacular fiasco of feathers & wax.
STEPHANIE L. HARPER
“What a Patriot Dreams” was first published (in slightly different form) in the November 2018 issue of CatheXis Northwest — thank you to editor C. M. Tollefson for selecting this piece for inclusion in your beautiful journal — and appears in my newest chapbook, The Death’s-Head’s Testament, available NOW for pre-sale purchase for the fantastic price of $6.50 per copy (currently slated for release in April 2019)!
CLICK THIS LINK to my author page at Main Street Rag, which includes commentary on and sample poems from The Death’s-Head’s-Testament, to order your copy today, that the poetry gods shall smile on you for all the rest of your days!!