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Blas Falconer reads his poem, "Fatherland".

Blas Falconer:

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Hi, I'm Blas Falconer, and I'm going to be reading a poem that was originally titled "Dear America", because it was written for a project of the same name, but is now titled "Fatherland", which is going to be the title of my next full-length collection.


The heat not having broken all
month long, we stood

in line and watched a boy
race down the park's tallest slide,

drop into the shallow pool 
below, from which he rose

renewed, a look of joy, relief
across his face. My son held

my hand, and looking up,
judged how long it'd take

to reach the top of the stairs.
In front of us, the man, a head

taller, fifty pounds, at least,
more than I, wore red trunks,

his hair, dark brown, short.
I saw the swastika first,

White Power, inked 
across his back, the scene:

skeletons climbed his spine

above a sea of flames. I felt 

each breakable bone 
in my boy's hand, he, who

days before asked to live
with us forever. Idiot,

my mother called me once
because, You think everyone

is good. The man looked
across the park at no one,

younger than I'd have thought, 
and when the line, as if

with one mind, began to move
again, he stepped forward, the foot

or two between us,
perilous, uncrossable.