Doug Paul Case, “Ode”
Today, a new poem by Doug Paul Case.
after Alex Dimitrov
America, you’re the baddest bitch. America,
you promised liberty and you delivered with multitudes
of boys who disappear before desire fades, before morning
light could race up their obedient bodies. America,
we can hear the snapping of your flag on warm October
nights in the parking lots of your 24-hour supermarkets.
We can hear the snapping of your flag
on the waistbands of boys’ boxers after gym class.
America, your shores are not for diving from
but for wrapping my body between, for devouring
what can be found here. America, I have seen
your boys and yes, you have raised them well
enough for this leather-studded bottom to choke
poems from their loins, from their teeth. America,
my father came for you, but you, you came
for me. How do you sleep on such fertile ground,
America, on such bustling streets? I’ve learned
to do it with a bandana in my pocket
and a wrapper on the floor. Your stars are in my eyes,
America, your boys in my beating chest.
DOUG PAUL CASE lives in Bloomington, where he’s an MFA candidate at Indiana University and web editor of Indiana Review. His poems have appeared in Sou’wester, Harpur Palate, Juked, and Ilk. He’s probably wearing a cardigan.
This poem borrows a line from “Radiance” by Alex Dimitrov.