Photo: Omar Willey. CC-BY 4.0

There is much more to being a patriot and a citizen than reciting the pledge or raising a flag.

Jesse Ventura

All my shame knows how to do in America is
Lob itself at my mother’s face. It’s too malleable, not
Like the sharp, resolute version she wears at home

—readily braided with an apology. It invites someone to hurry up

And attack it. Keeps turning the other cheek, which is already
Mottled with some over-enunciation. How is it that
Embarrassment destroys a person before all else? How is it that
Royalty and its sidekicks are chosen by an unoriginal alphabet? Today
Is yet another Fourth of July and the sugary stars mutilate my throat.
Caught in the upswing of a macabre anthem, the scarlet sparklers slash
At the navy sky. I step away to shed my cheekbones, my eyes, my
Nursery across the Pacific, and melt into the crowd.

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