caution / stephen scott whitaker

Just last week

the big flag

on the corner

swallowed up a veteran.

Swallowed him whole.

His boots could be seen,

upside down, a bulge

in the throat

of the beast

that has grown

a beard of a foam and fangs.


Nothing gets past

patriot incisors, even at rest,

white fangs

are striped with red.


Flags on my street

eat the poor. Teeth

tear baby

shoulders, accented

jaw bones. Flags

shred, gnash.


Flags flutter, flap, tease

white teeth, white teeth.

Mad dog of my country,

my country, mine.

Stephen Scott Whitaker (@SScottWhitaker) is a member of National Book Critics Circle and the managing editor for The Broadkill Review.  His poems have appeared in Oxford Poetry, Grub Street, and Anderbo, among other journals.  He is the author of three chapbooks, including the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize winning Field Recordings, and the USA Book Award nominee, All My Rowdy Friends.