Kevin Hauger


Suffer me a finale

To eclipse the smoke

Clogging the air

After the sparks give out



From the Suburban roof, we can see across the foothills. The night smells Americana from here

to Ft. Hood, where explosions Lite-Brite the flag that hypnotized our fathers

   boarding the buses that took them to Baghdad

      returning in a high school gym late in a line of starched collars (please come home)

          two-stepping with Mom under barn lights

            texas cantaloupe, junebug poolside, and our fathers

When the flag doesn’t take me to these places,

it guides my hand under your shirt in the bugging moonlight,

gentle between the distant flashes.



I am not a cloud. I don’t nourish the seedbed when I fall apart.

I am not my father.

We are not memories, but we’ve fixed each other in vignettes 

like paint pooling in a minefield.



We seared the sky

     chapter by chapter while the new scoreboard racked up lonely touchdowns

     while we raced the barren miles to our secret places

And sparkled sweeter than National Anthem

     a lusty pinwheel floating in the breath of our parents’ lectures

     outside study hall, the color of love

     red and blue fingers on our white, summery backs

     tenderized with wine and bottle rockets



I only see the smoke 

Choking the light show

It discolors my open mouth




Mud can be power-washed, plastic cups recycled.

Sunrise follows when the sparklers give out.

All smoke diffuses and the clouds might heal.

Kevin Hauger will soon graduate from the University of Notre Dame and pick a place to live that has new trees to sit in and more people to learn from. He studies acting, film, and poetry.