“Freedom isn’t free!” they shout from the street below
They wave small flags, wrap themselves in large ones
Behind stars and stripes, the small tag reads
Made in Bangladesh.
She watches from high above the street
The barbecue she wasn’t invited to
Watches them dance on land they stole
While they drink beer from Mexico.
Later, she knows, there will be songs
About rockets and bombs in the twilight
And the would-be revolutionaries will sing louder
As they set off their fireworks from China.
And then they will drive home
In their cars from Germany, and Japan
Tanked, sloshed, bombed; certain in their red-blue-and-whiteness
That no officer will shoot them for a sway over the line.
“Freedom isn’t free” they shout again
Sentimental at the thought
of what their grandfathers risked
for these amber waves of grain.
No, it’s not free, she thinks to herself
It was built on the backs of slaves
And even now, takes what it wants from the poor
And blames them when they’re hungry.
Like all the women before her
Holding up liberty with their fingertips,
Her arm is so tired.
But she just holds it higher.
It’s a light she bears forever
For those who will not see
As they talk about guns and walls
In this land of the free, that isn’t.