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Kelley White

The country was a warship. Her sails were hollow
and trimmed with brass. The scent of burning oil
whistled through her rigging, dried lips and eyes
of the cold men at the bow, filled their mouths with
iron and rust, the scent of scarlet stinging their ears.
John Paul Jones drove a mule train across the Gulf
of Mexico pulling the little rowboat of state.
In the ‘hood we know the truth of fists and feet.
“Walk the walk, talk the talk” and you end up alone
and away from home. The mothers of justice
carry large sticks. I raise my crutch to salute their
passing army. This mother will learn to salute
squat ships and the ramparts they sail. Doubloons
do pave the pathway to night. The heavy ship burns.