Paul Dickey


Look. On the roof of the Mutual
Metropolitan Life Company of EveryState,
a man is looking for a window to wash.
Perhaps he just needs a job.
Or is it a flag?
Or is it a man wrapped in a flag?
Or a flag dressed like a man?

And now, the man is waving in the wind.
Or is the flag waving a gun?
Perhaps at that height, all of us
on the street appear to be children.
How nice. He is waving good-bye to us.

Oh no. A noise sounds like my dad's
old car backfiring. Who am I kidding?
We are children. Where are our mothers?
My friends are playing along,
falling down on the already hot cement.
I am telling them to get up.

The man is standing at half-mast.
The flag is crying.
All that they ever wanted in life
is different than what they are.
Now watch him walk down the stairs.
He needs to be at work
on the seventh floor by 9:00 A.M.
The police will find him there.

The flag is following him.
A good spouse, she will not
talk to reporters.
Someone in the crowd figures
this is a couple who never
had children of their own.