Tom Higgins
Featured image: City sunflowers © Michelle Brooks 2019

—for my grandfather, who cheated the sea

above the singer table
in my parents’ living room
a tattered strip of fabric
hangs suspended.
it has not felt the wind
since normandy
which makes it
seventy-four years or so
ago since it flew
on the uss plunket
june sixth, nineteen
after the day had ended
my grandfather asked
if instead of the sea
he could keep it,
and he did,
and now it is ours
to look upon—
this taxidermy history—
and to ask, if we wish,
whether this,
what we are,
is what it all was meant for.