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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carl Adamshick
Carl Adamshick
Born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1969 Carl Adamshick grew up primarily in Harvard, Illinois...
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Our flag

 
by Carl Adamshick

should be green 
to represent an ocean.
It should have two stars 
in the first canton, 
for us and navigation. 
They should be of gold thread, 
placed diagonally, 
and not solid, 
but comprised of lines. 
Our flag should be silky jet. 
It should have a wound,
a red river the sun must ford
when flown at half-mast.
It should have the first letter
of every alphabet ever.
When folded into a triangle
an embroidered eighth note
should rest on top
or an odd-pinnate, 
with an argentine stem, 
a fiery leaf, a small branch 
signifying the impossible song.
Or maybe honey and blue
with a centered white pinion.
Our flag should be a veil
that makes the night weep
when it comes to dance,
a birthday present we open
upon death, the abyss we sleep 
under. Our flag should hold 
failure like light glinting 
in a headdress of water. 
It should hold the moon
as the severed head 
of a white animal
and we should carry it
to hospitals and funerals, 
to police stations and law offices. 
It should live, divided, 
deepening its yellows 
and reds, flaunting itself 
in a dead gray afternoon sky. 
Our flag should be seen
at weddings well after
we've departed.
It should stir in the heat
above the tables and music.
It should watch our friends
join and separate 
and laugh as they go out 
under the clouded night 
for cold air and cigarettes. 
Our flag should sing 
when we cannot,
praise when we cannot,
rejoice when we cannot.
Let it be a reminder.
Let it be the aperture,
the net, the rope of dark stars.
Let it be mathematics.
Let it be the eloquence
of the process shining 
on the page, a beacon 
on the edge of a continent. 
Let its warnings be dismissed. 
Let it be insignificant 
and let its insignificance shine.






First published in American Poet. Copyright 2010 by Carl Adamshick. From Curses and Wishes (Louisiana State University Press, 2011). Used by permission of the author.
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