Each confederate flag I see today,
driving northward, home to New England
across four states, flooring it
for the Mason-Dixon line,
each confederate flag license plate frame,
each confederate flag decal, each actual
confederate flag of cloth, each one leaps at me
with unimaginably sharper intensity
with its super-heartfelt and helpful
and ingeniously well-timed lessons
of southern heritage.
One painted trailer states it clearly,
in case we were confused:
“It’s about southern heritage,
not about racism,” in a slick chancery script
beneath the professionally done paint job
of the flat, pole-less, non-waving confederate flag.
I’m sure we’re all grateful, all of us
streaming up these interstates today,
for the continuing pointing-out
of our willful misreading,
our misunderstanding, our crazy feelings,
our intolerance and ignorance
of the multiple, completely apolitical,
utterly nonviolent, rosy-cheeked
and fun-loving facets of southern heritage.
But you know. I know. It’s not about
southern heritage. Right now,
on the rural New Hampshire route
I drive to work daily, one hangs
on the side of a barn,
waiting to welcome me home.