For The Land:
America: With all your beauty and grace, your Miss United States,
Your pride and stars and stripes and stunning monuments dedicated to (racist) presidents past
The National Parks you mark as overpriced
Because who wouldn’t want to pay to see you?
No need to bother the middle class with fair tolls,
They have enough worries at home as they struggle to feed the children.
America, with your freshly-paved streets,
Glorious would they be if bloodied black bodies didn’t line them
Or if pepper spray residue didn’t boil under the sun
Or if police officers were held to the standard we are
When it comes to shooting innocent 12-year-olds.
Because I learned your policy on firearms
As soon as you allowed 20 children and 6 teachers to be murdered in an elementary school
And refused to change your stance on gun control.
America, when people seek refuge within your borders,
You turn them away, scream in their faces,
Shipping off Syrians faster than Trump would screw his daughter
Because while he is snatching genitals,
you are snatching the children who have sailed to your lands in pursuit of safety under the night sky and inexplicably murdering them beneath the North Star,
Pointing to freedom,
America, my darling, I pledge my allegiance to your flag not because I respect you,
But because I happen to like Betsy Ross,
A woman who used her ladylike skills to weave a banner
That men cower under
Even if the men who work alongside the stars and stripes
Struggle not to post explicit photos of their female counterparts
On their Marines Facebook Group.
America, when I try to be strong in spite of this, you push me down,
Force me into a box where I only fit if my limbs are cut off and tucked in the corners,
So I spend too much time in the bathroom with bloody knuckles,
Crying over my body in the mirror
Because if my 9-year-old cousin thinks she’s fat,
Who am I to say I look good?
You spend free time condemning girls for getting the munchies
But turn your cheek when they smoke weed in front of you
And I wish I could feel that numb when I tell people where I am from,
That I am from You.
America: With your fatal flaws in the justice system
Let me beg of you, is it justice when they gun down doctors in the name of Jesus Christ and the pro-life movement?
When marital rape is passed along as BDSM,
Is that justice?
When the president of our nation is prided on being the leader of the free world,
Yet strives to remove dreaming children from this land and rips apart families,
Is that justice?
America, my motherland, with your riots and crippling debt and robbed convenience stores,
Your dying youth and droughts and doubts….
You are my country,
My ’Tis of Thee,
But you are not my home.
Riley Lauren Lynch