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.
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—