From “The Stuff of Hollywood”

After ice cream. Somewhere off Clear Creek &
196. Makeshift sign. Uncle Sam
white as the lines on the flag in hand mouths
love it or leave it. You must admire
the gall of white men in carjacked country.
Nearby a brief pond. Its skin a stillness.
Then up. A bird of prey searches for its—


Goose. On a depthless pond. Deepest tunnel
of unbecoming. How does one undrown
from the incivility of this world?
In the distant. Chimes. A musical score.
A willow bends its back toward dirt &
some star will hang low on tomorrow’s walk
& the moon. Watch it refuse my hello—

Copyright © 2024 by Niki Herd. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 16, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.