FLAGS FLUTTERING (REMEMBER YOUR ANCESTORS)

BY CARL WATTS

I

 Without a salaam or ceremony,
 hole of the rock, other following him;
 brightness washed from a winter swimmer
 as peoples made small, finely chipped arrowheads.

 Skiffs scuffed to look sufficiently skiff,
 mottled globe to a continent of glaring peaks
 nearer and nearer the beholder,
 translated from one world to another.

 Utterly tossed, lightly illumined,
 crunching down to cleaner reservoirs,
 questions that would ordinarily be avoided
 rather than one of your soles or flounders.

 II

 Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette
 were posts not quite upright; atmosphere far
 from what one would expect, if geological 
 and on some opposite side, implied.

 Wonderful people on chairs in their homes;
 later stone age peoples by 900 A.D.
 made large tanneries out west
 when the French came to this region.

 The Illinois board blared cattle stomach,
 tightened intestine; Indians invaded the Illinois
 valley that spring and by an unaccountable
 process, he was being willingly helpless:

 allowed himself to be alighting
 on massive ground, brilliantly. 

III

 Even the grains are ground, smashed:
 cultivated corn, squash and beans
 tied tightly to posts’ “browned presence,”
 said my Wife; “there is no draught;
 what are you looking for?”

 He built Fort Creve Coeur near Peoria
 and realized a sense of bodily expansion,
 mutation from the solid dimensions
 swelling, spreading, and changing
 wonderful ethnic costumes

 as La Salle hiked to Montreal:

 tanned, hued, cured 
 with parts of the mountain
 brought down from the mountain.

 Even the pestles are made of stone.

More of Carl’s work is available for download in our Full of Holes poetry anthology.

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