The Fourth

Tattered flag.
listen as the boot-black

snaps his cloth across the shoes
of a white dandy
diddling liberty and freedom
in his palm —a black
bootblack on an early Fourth

                listen as a cop clicks
off a round or two
into a car through epidermis
laden with more melanin
than white flesh holds

                listen to the striped flag
slap a nearby flagpole
in the July cold

Jim Culleny