The war, before me, unfolds
with the flag, chills of inhumanity
roll up my back and bunch

in my shoulders after clearing
my parents’ shelves of mementos,
Japanese and Russian knick-knacks,

hand-painted Imari and little,
black lacquered boxes. I feel myself
become oppressed, cornered

and cowering before this muslin
flag, indoors for more than three
score years—not one frayed thread

unfolded by squares of bright red,
around a clean quarter-circle of white
with one bent, black limb

of Hitler’s swastika. St. Vith?
my son somewhere in Belgium.
Refolded, what does a man do

with such a prize? Give it away,
sell it on ebay, or keep it hidden
with his guns and ammunition?

2 responses to “THE CAPTURED FLAG

  1. Amanda thinks we ought to have a flag burning party!


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