Published on Academy of American Poets (


Can be fragile, easy
to fade or be erased, all

It takes is a single heavy hand
or a legend thrown

Like a gauntlet, the hand that opens
an island’s body, an autopsy.

Nothing says empire
like a flag, says republic like fabric

Stretched & strung, swathes
of land tethered, a sanguine stitch

Of the tongue, language conquers
from within     before the blade

Separates flesh & kin,
breath & the line, all

Broken by a wall
& a people’s history

Crumbling in another’s wake


From Blood/Sound (Central Square Press, 2019). Copyright © 2019 by Fred L. Joiner. Used with the permission of the author.


Fred L. Joiner

Fred L. Joiner received an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. He is the author of BLOOD / SOUND, forthcoming in 2019 from Central Square Press. In 2019, Joiner was named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. He is the co-founder of The Center for Poetic Thought in Washington, D.C. and currently serves as the poet laureate of the Town of Carrboro, North Carolina.

Date Published: 2019-08-27

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