We have put up many flags, they have put up many flags. To make us think that they are happy. To make them think that we are happy. —Yehuda Amichai Everywhere, in the fertile soil of this land, we've planted flags. Flags sprout like the hair from an old man's nostrils. Blue and white or red, black, green and white, they shroud windows, standing in for a family you can't see: a flag instead of the mother who hums and spices the lentils, a flag for father, who runs the blade against his cheek each morning with the rooster's kukuku. Later, in the dark, he holds his wife while the children sleep wrapped in flags. Flags grow in the garden, flags from the beaks of muted birds. Shredded flags drape phone wires, flags hang from the pines like dead hands—
Copyright © 2011 by Elana Bell. Used by permission of the author.