11 September 2010


miniature flags sprouted from the ground again,
around the flagpole at school
patriotic flowers of those days that bear the beginning of fall
nearly three thousand of them
poking up through the soil
a little too close to the dirt, I think,
for flag protocol.

Lately, I hadn’t thought about them much,
hadn’t paused and reflected
until talk of burning books made us
-all of us –
appear more like Hitler than Christ.

It was then I remembered
those left behind
without a hand to hold
without even a body to bury.
Those left behind
and the fact that
their loved ones are too close to the dirt,
or reduced to ash even.
Are they angry still?
Do they just feel sick again
when the flags reappear?
Or do they always feel that way,
seeing the empty chair at the table?

It’s chronic, that loss.

And is that luck I feel
that I am not missing them every day,
that my seasons fade
one into the next
pretty much the same as
before the dust billowed up
and clouded everything?