I have been counting time in flags
flapped ragged at the Daycare
at the rate of two or three a year.
The country disappears; then it’s mother ship;
a provincial union franchise. You can drive by
and see them waving, the toddlers, banging
on the cut square perspex in the corrugated fence
below the poles. The mountains showing Stillness
that it doesn’t have to try.
Like the poem, it is not about decay
or representation, and personality,
although it grows out of us, is not final.
Or at all accurate; the diverse reaction
of babies among children exposed,
or experiencing the same, is personality?
Or character? Or chemical lack due
the absence of breast milk
or, more controversial, the proximity
of your bedroom to a cell mast.
Much of us expires in practice, what the flags
flap away awhile in wears all of us down,
on the poles unimagined escapable as we fight
in our roles, at work, with the wife, a man unmade
as a husband as he ages. A societal freeness
in gender arrangements, and I see
no change in the rate of the fray.
So the flags flap away, and the children.
And I continue annoying myself
with hard hours of pleasure in the ruts,
the small milk of conditions I have accepted
to further Comfort—predictable pole tied
wrestles, with no real wish to be blown up
tangled in the brambles among the Pines
grown angled up the hill behind the Centre.
What a flap I’ve put into myself, a symbol
on the non-being pillar— one must
be so the other…Is needs the
Isn’t or is neither.