Year Round

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.   

More Poems by Ange Mlinko