The little white flags trembled, but they held themselves high, and tried to shout across the nation, but their words were ripped apart from the bellowing wind, and their tiny voices could not carry across the country, especially not to the flag way up in Juneau.
The flag in Davenport managed to cry out to the entire Quad Cities, and Rock Island’s inhabitant was surely impressed, but their exchange was cut off from the rest of the world, swallowed by the surrounding farmlands, and it wasn’t long until the cows and sheep and goats came and chewed their cloth to pieces and their wooden shafts to nubs.
Along the West Coast, the flags were stomped on, torn and tattered, and San Rafael and San Francisco’s flags hid in the sewers, and their words never traveled across the Golden Gate. Seattle’s flags could not overcome the rain and clouds and fog, and threw its words into the sea, and then came plummeting after.
The East was too prideful, so the flags whispered to each other, their words scrambled in their game of telephone. The South could never get along, and they let their words melt in the hot sun as they sat on their porches drinking sweet tea, and pretended they had nothing to say.
They tried to breach Canada and Mexico, but big men with large guns pushed them back, lining them across the borders. Some tried to swim across the Atlantic, but their words were garbled in the waters, and they wound up on the shores of Portugal and Morocco dumb and mute.
The flags grew in number, but they no longer held themselves high, nor screamed, nor whispered, for their necks were broken and their bodies were now homes for the rats and the worms. The cows and the sheep and goats were bloated, and the splintered wood and tattered cloth filled the farms and the abandoned words sunk into the soil.
The words took root and sprouted, and new red flags shot out of the ground, with steel shafts and silk threads. They screamed across the nation, and they reached Fargo and Augusta and Provo, and Juneau heard the loudest cry of all.
And the flags still shout, and tremble no more.