Leveler Poetry Journal
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Born in the USA (1984)

I was much too young to appreciate what it really was, though 

I remember the heightened energy of consequence. I remember

knowing it was special and that I took a nap, though I didn’t want to, 

in the old Toyota van because Mom wasn’t wild about how late

you’d have me out. I remember the oversized American

flag backdrop behind the stage. It’s in Cleveland now. 

I saw it in college and called you. You had thought it was 

the Tunnel of Love tour. Maybe you wanted me older 

when you remembered, when you began having kids 

again. “I would never take them out like that.”  But 

we were both just kids then. I’m glad you didn’t know better. 

I convinced you with the flag. How could you forget it there

behind him, like on the cover of the album you had. I had 

the cassette. You must have gotten it for me—a smaller version

of your record. I kept it well after the tape player grew too old.  

I remember, in the darkness, when he left the stage,

the tiny flicker of the lighters opening out over the audience.

You explained that they weren’t booing, they were calling to him.

Come back to us. Don’t go. 

I remember more than I should. I often played that cassette to myself. 

MacAdam Smith