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Tuesday, June 30, 2015


by Kenneth Salzmann

The Confederate flag represents Southern culture, Anna Robb said. In an interview with the News-Leader on Monday, she said the flag represents faith, family and freedom — not slavery, racism or white supremacy. On Thursday, the News-Leader was alerted by readers that Robb’s husband Nathan, co-owner of the store, once tried to adopt a highway in Arkansas on behalf of the Ku Klux Klan, and that Nathan Robb’s father is Thomas Robb, the national director of the KKK. (Photo: Valerie Mosley/News-Leader) —Springfield News-Leader, June 26, 2015

Far be it from me to rag on
the beloved flag that yet waves
not (as some say) to celebrate
the keeping of slaves but (as you
assure me) to pay all due tribute
to your valorous ancestors
who waged brave war against
the relentless arc of history even as
they carved your glorious home
land out of stubborn red
clay and soft lacerated flesh.

All praise be to those
who came before you bearing
whips and shackles ax handles
at the doors of shabby
roadside restaurants christly
crosses fierce fires
of redemption and the proud
blood that even now
flows freely in your veins.

Kenneth Salzmann is a writer and poet whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, literary journals and anthologies, including The New Verse News, Rattle, Comstock Review, Child of My Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents (Gelles-Cole Literary Enterprises), Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude (Holy Cow! Press), Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers (Codhill Press), The Heart of All That Is: Reflections on Home (Holy Cow! Press).