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Sunday, June 19, 2005


by Britton Carducci

My family has let go
Of most of our traditions now.
But each Memorial Day,
We all still gather in my father's
Office, on Main Street , to watch the parade
Through the gold and maroon lettering
That says in arcs:
seciffo wal
nelyom & iccudrac

our place of prominence
in this small town.

Each year, there are fewer
Old men marching
With paper poppied lapels.
My town boasts one
WWI vet, riding in the back of
Cherry red 1958 Chevy Impala.
Which is funny to me,
Because he was bayoneted
40 years before the car was even born.
And this year, there are the lucky ones
Walking, waving, smiling
In worn-in boots and desert fatigues.

It's also funny to me that we,
My family, have chosen
This particular ritual
To keep alive.
We, the former Patriots,
Repulsed by our country and
Now suspicious, frightened almost;
Careful what we say--
We swallow our bile-flavored words,
From the yellow bumper-stickered masses
Who can't see past Fox News and
Michael Jackson anyway.

But inside the office
There is no talk of the administration today.
No talk of politics.

Today, we avoid
The war that
This day, this country, is saturated in.
We are all smiles.
We are careful to only steal
Glimpses of Nicolle's face
When taps is played--
And we note that her four-year old son
Is more interested in catching candy
Than ogling the tanks that barrel by.

This year, the mini-American flag
On a rough wooden stick
Hangs limp in the fist
Of her seven-year old daughter.
This year, no one is dressed
In red or white or blue.

And Brooke, the seven year old,
Is handing me the flag;
She is emptying her fist
So she can take my hand

And tell me that her Daddy
Would have liked
To see that old man
And the Impala.

Britton Carducci is a recent graduate of Rutgers University. She is an aspiring poet and fiction writer who is eternally rubbing balm into the rope burn on her palms. She is the winner of The Crucible's National Flash Fiction Contest and has been published in Objet D'art, the literary magazine of Rutgers College.