poem from the Fall issue: Mark Jackley’s “Pledge”

11 Nov


I pledge allegiance to the flag of my own existence
and to the absurdity for which it stands, especially February days as dark,
inscrutable as the flock of starlings I
watched this afternoon suddenly split in two and form
a perfect pair of angel wings that did, I swear, ascend
over the Cowboy Church three or four asphalt miles
past Warrenton, Virginia, whose sad marquee spoke
in missing letters, reminding me of careless dentistry
and human suffering everywhere, though it gladdened my heart
somehow to know I didn’t know the secrets of this world.
I pledge allegiance to the numbness that gives birth to spring,
to faith that’s holding fast or unravels stitch by stitch,
to one nation under clouds, divisible as the soul,
with liberty and the justice of bird poop for all.

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