Liberty July 4, 2018

“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.

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
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