My Flag
by JB Mulligan

My flag is the lady in the harbor, and Sandburg's burly hog-butchering city, and the silence of the Arizona desert.

My flag is the Pacific coast at sunset, and the night-flying planes over the Rockies, and the howl of a distant freight train an hour before dawn in New Jersey.

My flag is never asleep.

My flag is the immigrant child and the pudgy dowager wrinkling her nose; the pretty Hispanic shop clerk earning her dreams, and the desiccated matron bejeweled and befuddled that a lovely debutante left just this pale husk.

My flag is the cowboy, the accountant, and the truck driver, hundreds of miles apart, alone in the long valley of exhaustion, who simultaneously and unknown to each other, each will lift a cup of coffee to his lips.

My flag is the towers rising and the towers falling, the penthouses, tenements, the towns and the blond seas of corn.

My flag is the superhighway and the forest.

My flag is the wind that rattles my flag.

My flag is the sound of wooden ships landing, of settlements dying, of cities growing loud and the thunder of passenger pigeons vanished.

My flag is all the saints and sinners, the great deeds and sins inseparable, and all the deadly unseen spinning of this vast flower as all evil or all good when it is only all human, hungry, aching, loving, hating, strong and weak and us.

You can try to burn my flag, but it's already flame. Burn with it if you can.

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