• Escort Officer Duty

    Laura Joyce-Hubbard

    Winter 2022


    My son conducts
    his five-inch flag
    like a maestro.

    Then, a little
    separation. Here,
    he says, his arm
    outstretched to me.
    I take the broken

    He holds the frayed
    fabric like a mask,
    eyes on the backs
    of stars.

    He delights behind
    capsized colors.
    I bite down No.


                     The hum
                     of the projector:
                     how to salute
                     during transfer.

                     I can tell you now
                     where the star field
                     is supposed to rest
                     on a closed casket.

                     Taught to fold 


    He’s three, younger
    than his brother
    who is yelling
    from the muddy double slide.

    Like roll call,
    he is summoned.

    AWOL, he ignores.

    His morning work:
    sitting on mulch chips,
    folding triangles.

    Pale, chubby fingers
    tucking edges tighter,
    making old glory,

    like a secret note
    passed in class.

    Laura Joyce-Hubbard’s recent work appears in Boulevard, Ninth Letter, and Tupelo Quarterly. She’s been awarded fellowships by the NEA and Ragdale to attend residencies, including VCCA. Laura’s a veteran of the United States Air Force, where she flew C-130s. She is pursuing an MFA at Northwestern University and serves as a fiction editor for TriQuarterly.

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