Stripes and Stars
by Susan Millar DuMars
Trumpet, blood, the reveille
for American boys in basement rooms —
stars behind their skin, their eyes.
the flag sings lullabies
to the near–men in their dream cocoons —
songs of Iwo Jima,
hymns about the moon.
Wake up! You boys in basement rooms.
Climb the umbilical steps to breakfast.
Stripes of bacon on a white plate.
hand on heart like a swung–shut gate
you pledge your allegiance
like son, like father
like swing batter batter
like air guitar hero
like kung fu fighter
like who am I who am I
student loaned soldier
like for God sake keep it together
tell no one tell no one
the flagpole at night clanks lonely, lonely
and you shove your dresser against the door.
My American boys, behind your skin
flicker warmer lights than stars.