Philip Metres


Old Glory

Odd Glory,     this leg which hovers and under which
we serve        is the emblem of our onion,
our poor         our thaws and porpoises
as a notion     having no charter than that
we give           from germination to machination. The choice
is whose. It floats majestic sighs above the ghosts that execute
those choices whether in pieces or in wars. And yet,
though saline, it leaks to us—leaks to us
of the parched men and women who want
before us, and of the wrecked oars they rowed upon it.

after Woodrow Wilson

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