He Loved a Parade

A patriotism
I did not inherit. Along Asbury
Park’s Main Street
heading toward the shore—the last one

we watched together. Tears
came to his eyes when bagpipers marched
past in their wool kilts. Their drone
pipes in near perfect harmony. Fireworks

have frightened me since dodging
M-80s in the Paris metro
on Bastille Day,
then in the New York subway

every 4th of July
for years. I could never keep step

with a group. Always got the incurable urge
to cross the street

in the midst of it all
against the flow. But now
that he’ll watch no more
parades, a single bagpipe

opening wide those first notes
to “Amazing Grace”
is a freeze
tag tap I cannot ignore.

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33 Years

Remnants of an unnamed
storm still smashing
against the Long Beach Island shoreline. Reception still
good. Saturday Night Live
rerun in full ridiculous swing.

Who’s the host? Who remembers?
Two bodies

entwined as if the rest
of the world’s become a silent movie
during intermission. Her first—not
his. Memory captured and recorded. The world resumes
its 1979 footage.

Leaving Hoosierland

A moving walkway is coming to an end, begin
here where passing through
is an industry. Will I speak
to strangers, you ask no one. I will
not use horizontal escalators
to get what I want, you state

plainly—rural routes
delineate a grid
unlike any you know now.
You remember how you did the leaving,
a wave from the way back window in the red
Chrysler wood-paneled station wagon

as your mother pumped the gas pedal hard
and away. East to Ohio was never enough. Farther still,

New Jersey, New York, Connecticut,
a town in Southern Portugal. An absence
for something, did you ever know, you ask. Some day you will
believe in the pedal steel
player’s sticker on an instrument he plays
that night in Indianapolis:

“Non-judgment day is near.”