Cousins, boy-girl, boy-girl,

boy-girl, boy, lined up

on the couch and kicking

their Keds for Kool-Aid.

The wallpaper of the living

room: Asian peonies

on a background of pink.

A Punjabi family– four

boys in turbans somber

before the camera,

their mother in headscarf

behind them, her fingers

on the shoulder

of the scarfless young daughter.

Three Irish children posing

on the plow of a steam

locomotive. Eleven children

of various births in their

Sunday best except for the littlest

who is a cowboy.

Eight children riding

on a platform on the back

of an elephant. A small

teepee; a pile of toy rifles.






hit by water cannon

walking single file

between motorcycle cops

children eaten by police dogs

escorted to the school bus

by soldiers

children waiting for Santa

sitting on the dock

gathering in the gymnasium

children posing with Joan Baez

chased by a flock

of angry geese

dying in an earthquake


children posing with RFK

playing soccer behind barbed wire

leaving the funeral

swinging on chains

children laughing at the iron dogs

buying ice cream

listening to teacher






Mrs. Green was pretty miffed

I could not keep

my eyes open during

American History because

the night before I caught

Tennessee Ernie Ford

at the fairgrounds

with my folks.

In class we were watching

Johnny Tremain—he fused

his hand together with molten silver—and

before you knew it

I was sawing wood. Trip

to the Principal, phone call,

world apocalypse, boys like

me would die in a rice paddy,

in the hot sun, hundreds

of flies chewing on my face.

My mom apologized.

Sixteen tons and what

do you get? Monsanto

sold their flaming jelly.