FREE VERSE POEM
AT THE LINDALE, TEXAS POST OFFICE I ASK FOR A BOOK OF STAMPS
He hands me the standard issue American flag variety with its red,
its white, its ever-deepening blue. But I am tired, America, tired
of your shouting flags, this flag, all our flags, every--God help us--
flag flying, flag lowered, flag bullet-holed and half-masted.
I ask if he has anything else, wishing flowers, trees, some soft wash
of watercolor, a woman’s vivid face. “Cowboys,” he answers.
“And cowboy hats.” Slaps them down take-it-or-leave-it
on the counter between us. I leave them. Leave the cowboys.
Leave their stupid John Wayne hats. I take my little book
of shrunken flags and step back outside into a sunlit summer--
its spacious grace, its tiny trembling buds of red, great clouds of white
suspended, scattered across the steadfast blue. Two small shining
girls skip past me, trailing their elegant mother, their hair
the color of wrens lifting and falling in the come-and-go wind,
streaming, ribbons of light, waving, waving. My country ‘tis
of thee. I pledge my allegiance.
Robin Turner has recent work in Cider Press Review, The Fourth River, Bracken Magazine, and in the Haunted anthology from Porkbelly Press. A longtime community teaching artist in Dallas, she is currently living in the Pineywoods of rural East Texas for a spell. She works with teen writers online.