by Nathanael O’Reilly
The Third of July
On the corner of Prairie Dunes
and Spyglass sixteen miniature
American flags line the path
to the police officer’s door.
Two neighbors mow lawns
but most have left town
or gone to church to hear
the annual patriotic sermon.
At the corner of Bayhill
and Spyglass a Mayflower
moving truck swings wide
forcing me to leave the street
and cross someone’s lawn,
the driver failing to offer
an apologetic wave.
High above fighter jets
from the Air Force base
rehearse for the next war.
An overweight, elderly man
lights a cigarette as he walks
across the medical center
parking lot, takes four or five
drags while he ambles,
throws the lit cigarette forward
onto the ground with his right hand,
pauses, grinds it out with his right foot,
proceeds onwards towards automatic
doors and the doctor’s diagnosis.
On Willow Bend Drive
in the last open field
behind the strip mall
beside the medical center
a white-tail doe and her fawn
pause at the street’s edge
before clicking across concrete
to the last stand of live oak
Bulldozers and graders destroy
live oaks and mesquite, pushing
out the suburban edge, annihilating
nature to create new streets
and cleared flat building lots
awaiting construction of homes
adjacent to schools, capitalizing
on location, maximizing property
values and tax revenues for the city.
Capitalism obliterates everything
that cannot be monetized, kills
the trees, grass and wildflowers,
destroys habitats and ecosystems
in relentless pursuit of return.
About the Author:
Nathanael O’Reilly’s poems have appeared in journals and anthologies published in twelve countries, including Antipodes, A New Ulster, Australian Love Poems, Backstory, Cordite, FourW, FourXFour, Glasgow Review of Books, Headstuff, Marathon, Mascara, Postcolonial Text, Skylight 47, Snorkel, Tincture, Transnational Literature, Verity La and The Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology 2017. He is the author of two full-length collections: Preparations for Departure (UWAP Poetry, 2017), named one of the “2017 Books of the Year” in Australian Book Review, and Distance (Ginninderra Press, 2015); and three chapbooks: Cult (Ginninderra Press, 2016), Suburban Exile (Picaro Press, 2011) and Symptoms of Homesickness (Picaro Press, 2010).