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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, January 11, 2017.
About this Poem 

“I wrote this one driving out to the Desatoyas, a mountain range in the Great Basin. Listening to AM radio, I’d pull over and take notes or write down phrases. It’s quiet out there, except for the wind and the fighter jets.”
—Jared Stanley

Civilian

All was permitted you.
Rooted out as a misfire or
somebody’s chance smudge
stabbed into a satisfied mind,

your face was feathered in spittle.
Go ahead, lick it off! Be an air-swiped flag.
Every single strange example’s
A blast, a test of evidence.

What if we had known then
we could bloom a flame like this?
Our forthright behavior
our stolen valor

Stick Fighting, Knife Fighting, and Home Defense.
Every now and then
Wind works your ear
but these facts are never reported.

I hate the song. I know all the words.

Copyright © 2017 by Wayne Miller. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 11, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Wayne Miller. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 11, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Jared Stanley

Jared Stanley

Jared Stanley is the author of Ears (Nightboat Books, forthcoming in 2017).