Stripes and Stars

by Susan Millar DuMars

Trumpet, blood, the reveille
for American boys in basement rooms
stars behind their skin, their eyes.
At night
the flag sings lullabies
to the nearmen 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.
By day
hand on heart like a swungshut 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.