Construction Paper Flags Tacked to a Primary School Bulletin Board

Read by the author.


by Adam Tavel

Featured Art: “Noise in the System” by Madara Mason


for my sons

This one has concentric frames
that on close inspection are
pink strips of floss. This one
swims inside itself, three shades
of blue. This one’s stripes
are dead calligraphy: R.I.P. Abuela,
R.I.P. Cousin Juan. This one grows
bored and morphs into a sketch
of a cartoon baseball twirling
its handlebar mustache.
This one begs God Bless. This one
has sticker pistols saying BANG.
This one’s wrists wear broken chains.
This one is lost inside the glitz
of caked-on glitter gold. This one
is impasto red on red that bled
on everything it touched. This one
has forty macaroni stars
and this one has the husk
of a dragonfly where stars
should be, its glue-gobbed wings
unstitching from the corpse.




Adam Tavel’s third poetry collection, Catafalque, won the 2017 Richard Wilbur Award (University of Evansville Press, 2018). You can find him online at

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