Guiseppe Getto

State Song

In class we learn 
the state song
because we are children
in a state 
and for each state
there is a song 
at a certain age 
to the cadence
of chalk squeaking
the words
that inoculate our minds
all other state songs 
so that visiting 
a classroom
in a new state 
and hearing 
the children 
chant their
plants, animals, 
and landscapes
only serves to remind 
the listener 
of the phrases 
of their home state’s
we’re learning
sil-ver-y rills
as in
out by the [river’s]
sil-ver-y rills
and the teacher asks 
between hoop earrings
does anyone
know the meaning
of sil-ver-y rills? 
—thus upholding
the dictate 
of state-sponsored 
that no answer 
be freely given
unless first asked 
as a question.

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Guiseppe Getto is a Zen Buddhist, a poet, and an Associate Professor of Technical Communication at Mercer University. His first chapbook is Familiar History with Finishing Line Press. His individual poems can be found in journals such as Sugarhouse Review, Reed, Eclectica, and Harpur Palate, among many others. Visit him online at: