PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

I pledge allegiance to the flag 
of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands
one nation, diverse and indivisible, 
created and preserved by the love and labor 
of indigenous people, slaves and immigrants 
for their children and their children’s children
as one nation with freedom to worship,
to love, to marry and to seek 
the truth and insist on its telling
and to preserve this fragile earth
with respect, liberty and justice for all.

REDUCTION IN FORCE

As I walk the old railroad bed away from town
violets and periwinkles peer from bright green ground cover
and the funky protozoan scent of the Raritan fills my nostrils.
A cardinal’s scarlet flashes from a Sycamore overhead
and two gold finches,like acrobatic dandelions,
frolic through the green haze of trees. 
The path is lined with skunk cabbage, daffodils and buttercups,
their mix of intention and happenstance so like life’s.
High above, almost out of range, a hawk circles.
The hum of the nearby Interstate hardly matters here.
Its slinky spasms and urgencies are no longer my problem.
I’ve traded those for the white flowers of May Apples,
emerald velvet of moss and the disappearing tail of a red fox
trotting into the trees.
The world of commerce and its stresses
computers, paperwork, clocks  
and what they count
roll off me in a grateful sigh.
 
I have lost my job and gained the world.