Benjamin Landry

What I want to know
in the furling of summer
is how many flags
are too many flags?

Stars, however brightly
they shine—polyester—
overwhelmed by
the bloody bars.

Someone cracks a smile;
another cracks a beer.
It all has the Fourth
of July feel of joy
on the edge of violence.

Speedboat captains
gun their outboards,
slicing green
beauties in two.


and all a little rude.
Dogs off leash
or lurkers casting shadows
on the otherwise bronze bodies.

One pennant declares
All Lives Matter,
meaning no lives,
in particular.

But what sort of a nation did we
think we would be by now?

Benjamin Landry is the author of Burn Lyrics and Particle and Wave.  His poems have appeared in Kenyon ReviewThe New YorkerPloughshares and elsewhere.  He teaches creative writing at SUNY Potsdam.