Wayne Johns


From the far corner of the neighbor’s yard,

       on the side that joins our side, it waves.

       It arrived after we arrived, and in the wake

of the election. Would it be too much to call it
a menace? Just fabric hanging from a flex pole

       so it moves both more and less freely,

       like a thing trapped, knocking the new

privacy fence when a storm comes. Tangling,
then sagging, like clean wet laundry. It’s clear

       (does it need to be said?) they’re MAGA

       and we’re the only queer couple on the street,

one of us recently citizened—with the others
we filed through the scanner, unbelted, only his body

       pulled aside and patted down, the guard

       motioning me along, raising his voice

when I stopped and stalled the line. I recorded
my new husband, hand over his heart at the ceremony.

       Now I can’t stop staring out back at this thing

       I stood and pledged my allegiance to, that

for which it stands, for all those years of mornings.
And, look, how it followed us here, looming now always

       along the property line, above the leaves,

       the stripped branches, casting this long

bright shadow over the snow—