On a windy day in March,
we stop at a Chevy dealership
near Orbisonia, Pennsylvania,
for a closer look at an enormous American flag
on a too-short pole. It seems intent
on demonstrating some elemental
principle of travel.
As we watch, completely straight & sober
but feeling more stoned by the minute,
it becomes a country unto itself,
complete with its own square of sky.
Slow waves of wind beginning
out among the stars find endless,
inventive ways to pass through the striped field,
the alternating strips of crop and fallow
following the contours of a land
continually in flux, like a farmer’s dream
of swimming deep into the soil.
The medium becomes the only message.
And anti-nationalist that I am, I find
I would almost pledge allegiance
to this well-made thing
& the wind that gives it another, freer kind of life.
Where were we going, again?
We both agree we could sit here all day,
if it weren’t for the likelihood that sooner
or later someone would report us
to the police for suspicious activity.
We pull gingerly back
onto the old blue road.
I’m mining the Via Negativa archive for poetic material. This derives from a 2005 post, Stars and stripes.