Flashback Friday (or late Thursday night, as it were)

Prayer Flags

circa Summer 2003; the second-to-last poem I've written. hmm.

In Provincetown, the flags stay up

through the June rains: strung like laundry

across narrow roads. We walk underneath

the colors, point out the countries we recognize.

Maj says that all flags are prayer flags.

I usually believe what he says. I do want the wind

to lift prayers from these drenched banners,

but only if the wind is blind to their spangled loyalties.

Some months later, Ben and I buy a quilt

patterned with flags. Their colors are inverted,

rendered unrecognizable. I dream well under the weight

of orange crescent moons, greens stripes, pink stars.

The wind doesn’t reach this quilt; its prayers go unnoticed.

Soon, I’ll wash it, hang it on the clothesline to dry,

wait for the wind to clutch and shake the dormant flags.

Their prayers will scatter: brilliant, haphazard, loving.

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