The ground will swallow you because it is hungry
—Tayve Neese

All my life I wished to be the abanderado,
enter the ceremony hall, the flag resting on
my shoulder, my hand holding firmly
and softly the flag’s pole like a child’s hand.

I never dreamed of being a patriot, just a boy
preoccupied with the attention of adults.
At that time, in my country, the ground
would gorge young bodies.

Democracy was feeble, ignored like a poor man.
I still wonder why I felt the flag was so important,
perhaps it was the hope that my triumph
would help my parents to fight less,

before I learned the ground will swallow many,
before the ground swallowed them too.


Juan Pablo Mobili was born in Buenos Aires, and adopted by New York. His poems appeared or will be appearing in The American Journal of PoetryHanging Loose Press, South Florida Poetry Journal, Louisville Review, The Wild Word (Germany), and Otoliths (Australia), among others. His work received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. His chapbook,  “Contraband,” was published in 2022, and he’s the Guest Editor for The Banyan Review’s Spring 2023 issue.

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