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January 2019, vol 14 no 4

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Dave Bonta

Flag Country

On a windy day in March, we stop at a Chevy dealership near Orbisonia, PA, for a closer look at an enormous American flag on a too-short pole. It seems intent on demonstrating some elemental principle of travel. As we watch, completely straight and sober but feeling more stoned by the minute, it becomes a country unto itself, complete with its own square of sky. Slow waves of wind beginning out among the stars find endless, inventive ways to pass through the striped field, the alternating bands of crop and fallow following the contours of a land continually in flux, like a plowman’s dream of dancing deep in the soil. The medium becomes the only message. And anti-nationalist that I am, I find I would almost pledge allegiance to this well-made thing and the wind that gives it another, freer kind of life. Where were we going, again? We both agree we could sit here all day if it weren't for the likelihood that, sooner or later, someone would report us to the police for suspicious behavior. We pull gingerly back onto the old blue road.

big flag
bellying with wind
our altered state