Year Round

By Ange Mlinko Ange Mlinko
Two flags nuzzle each other in the desultory gust   
because they are   
fleeing the trees, who are cruel to one another,   
      shading their neighbors to death   

a mixed bag   
advocating small business in a loose confederation.   

The flags don’t give any shade at all.   

On the anniversary of our country   
we throw dynamite at the air   
we build into.   


Daylight savings. A beeline   
to a sea lion, as the children’s song extols, or is it   
a beeline to a scallion?   

You hear your own accent—   
a child makes an error to see if you’re listening.   

A heartfelt counterfeit.   


A cough muffled   
in its own sputum’s   
in the next throat:   

a family of coughs comes   
to couch in us   
while the sun rises   
over the church,   
treetops’ psych ops   
combusting all over   
the ground   
with a snowdrop.   

Source: Poetry (December 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2008
 Ange  Mlinko


Ange Mlinko is the author of three books, Shoulder Season (Coffee House Press, 2010), Starred Wire (Coffee House Press, 2005), which was a National Poetry Series winner in 2004 and a finalist for the James Laughlin Award, and Matinees (Zoland Books, 1999). In 2009, she won the Randall Jarrell Award in Criticism. Mlinko was born in Philadelphia, and has worked in Brooklyn, Providence, Boston, and Morocco. She has taught poetry at . . .

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