Allegiance

Max Garland

I believe in the haloed snow in the streetlight
the weight of the dark lets down,
and the republic of the child’s tongue
where the stars blink and die.
And the whole house full of father and mother
and the fogged windows
through which the lamps
seem kind, obedient creatures
burning the distance away. And the flag
of the boy who tears through the wind,
all scarf and shout, how nothing fills his bootprints
all the way to the brim,
how breath is a ripple on the dark
which is my country
when I am child enough again
and snow comes down like the kingdom of bread
breaking over the body for which it stands.

Max Garland is the writer-in-residence for the City of Eau Claire and a former poet laureate of the State of Wisconsin. His book, Hunger Wide as Heaven, from which this poem is taken, is available at The Local Store and elsewhere.

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