The National Guard is on patrol
in combat boots and GI Joe camouflage,
M16’s slung down to their hips,
young as boys on Halloween,
ready for anything, and I want
to hand every one of them a bag of candy.
Teens heading home from the shore
jostle one another, breaking
into impromptu dance; sparkles scatter
across a girl’s grass-green miniskirt
like dew. It’s Morning in America.
Her friend lifts a Coke
from a canvas tote striped red, white and blue,
and gulps deeply, head wrapped
in a star-spangled Doorag.
A squall is coming on. Wind swells
his Yankees t-shirt like a schooner’s sail,
shakes his gold hoop earring.
I lean over the track, pretending
to be fearless. Two cops stream past:
one, freckled and pink-cheeked,
his black partner middle-aged-weary,
like Huck Finn and Jim heading to
wherever the river takes them.
Maria Terrone is the author of three poetry collections including Eye to Eye (Bordighera Press, 2014) and a chapbook. Her work has appeared in magazines such as Poetry and Ploughshares and more than 25 anthologies. She is the poetry editor of Italian Americana.