Giant Nazi Flag Escapes From an Attic Vodka Box

  Ralph Sneeden


My mother lets it out by accident,
mistaken for another crate of crap,
tax returns to shred. Standard

of a century’s cruel alluvion,
as if pressed and folded yesterday,
poised for one more parade, no

moth holes, a flume-blade of cloth
to be dropped on the desperately complicit
or blot every arch’s camber

and pigeon-thronged entablature,
instead of searing our ceiling
with pink light. A souvenir

my father never mentioned before
he died, unlike the snake of spurred
wire, public, mounted on its routed

plaque above his desk, memento
snipped that day of his deliverance
from the camp. The flag unfurls

from her fingers like a bolt
of oxygenated blood from catwalk
balcony to living room, rip

against the tidal bore of twilight
filling windows with the cove’s
kleptocracy, that single heron

crimping an eel to heft it flailing
into the conflations of Autumn, over
the meager pockets of marshbank reflections

being siphoned of their last silver.

Emily Gilbert