"Independence Day" by Leslie Bumstead

I had never felt quite so asthmatic
my hands tarantula-stepping out
inner battle seas high
the last spangled mannerism

reptile lung swipe
in the year of our lord
mudslinger from the grey fortress
& it ’s a doorknob day

in our perfect town
a tiny traitor
sitting on a tractor
practicing a mandolin-

like instrument
no one suspected a party of this nature
midriff tin boat beef patty trés bon
I kept up quite an impressive vigil

on the heels of your furry brow
inspecting torrid banter by the fence
black cloud &curtain
later we are all torn up

barebacked flummoxed x-rayed feathered
my little drama shipyard fame
stuck in a green heaven suit
not far from here I worry about you

little house radish
if you live in a sink
twelve hundred times &
leaf through the pearly gates &

fingering gladiator limerick bait
hearty beef stew for you
marrow flame et al for you
tall anthem frond on the porch for you


—"Independence Day " from Cipher/Civilian by Leslie Bumstead. Copyright © 2005 by Leslie Bumstead. Used by permission of Edge Books.