Red Diaper



Born in 1937 in the USA
not yet a war year though war was coming
along with its patent leather and bowtied photographers

When I say I feel like a rusty Dodge
I reveal my age and my brand in an age of brands
that depression era child

whose father took her yearly to Coney Island
where we ate Nathan’s frankfurters
whirled madly in cars of remarkable lacquers

stood with the crowd sighed at the fireworks
at the end an American flag gleamed over the ocean
telling us it was time to head for the subways

damp sand blowing across the boardwalk
linoleum stained with juices and an oilcloth table at home
where we beat time and sang

Oh you can’t scare me I’m sticking to the Union
for we believed a better world was coming
such and such my sources and my spring

for which I sink to my knees in gratitude
and dare you my fellow citizens
in the nation of marketing

I dare you to mock me

Alicia Ostriker

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