on the difficulty of fitting your history in the washing machine

C. Henry Smith
Featured image: Butcher shop © k. Carlton Johnson 2019

 

There is, of course, the chance
we don’t recover. The chance

that the stain doesn’t
come out. Of our flag,

I can’t say much. Perhaps if there
were more stars (thousands) and they

were sewn of all colors, the old square gone,
the stripes up and down made to look

like the night (or the sea below
so stitch-fixed wet stars

may gaze back at themselves). To reflag a nation,
would that wash it clean? Or to join hands and hold

our country underwater until it is still again.
As it was once for elms and wild grasses,

for pumpkins and skunks. We meant to take
more pictures then, but there was always something,

someone who needed cleansing. We are water.
Well over half. Why are we not more

reflective? Why do we not squish to the touch,
leave trails behind so you find us

in the night when we run off (not far),
just down the hall for another glass of us?