All Commentary
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hanging Flags

Bouncing down a West Bank road
fresh from a rally for peace

a Palestinian in the car ahead
unfurls out his window a bed sheet

flag of a state that has yet
to exist. A roadblock. An argument

you cannot hear completely, but see
in wild gestures—the soldier, an Israeli

all animation & flailing,
the driver’s right arm flailing in reply.

You approach, slow, your arms leaden
at your sides.  & fear what you might—

why, the soldier’s advising on hanging
the flag so it doesn’t block the driver’s vision.

  • Philip Metres is the author of several books of poems, including Sand Opera, winner of the 2013 Beatrice Hawley Award from Alice James Books, A Concordance of Leaves (Diode 2013), abu ghraib arias (Flying Guillotine, 2011) and To See the Earth (Cleveland State, 2008). His work has garnered two NEA fellowships, four Ohio Arts Council grants, the Arab American Book Award, and the Cleveland Arts Prize, among other honors. He is a professor of English at John Carroll University.