I pledge allegiance to the flag
My young eyes followed
Each word on the board dutifully,
As we spoke,
Because I had been told
That’s what a patriot would do.
Of the United States of America
Well, my country, at least,
My home was there, too,
But just down the street,
Next to Mikey’s house.
I had never been to somewhere like Texas
Ma said it wasn’t safe there.
And to the Republic, for which is stands,
And what exactly
Do we stand for?
Uncle Rob and Mom
Were arguing over that
Just the other day.
“You poor people
Are all the same.
And so irritating,
Begging for my money.”
He had spit.
I remember the contempt in his eyes
When his gaze fell on me.
One nation, under God, indivisible
Of course, the divide in our family
Was made long before yesterday evening.
Mom had married a Muslim.
And because he translated God
Uncle Rob acted like dad was a terrorist.
Then again, so did my classmates,
Which is why mom drops me off
With liberty and justice for all.
At the time,
When I rocked back and forth on my heels,
Hand clasped over my heart,
I did not know the term “irony,”
But as I would learn,
In my public schooling,
The ideas of “liberty” and “justice”
Are riddled with it.
Where was the liberty
When my father was executed
By Mikey’s dad,
The “self-proclaimed” patriot?
Where was the justice
When my mother grew weak and weary
From over exhaustion,
While Uncle Rob
With his riches?
Echoed through my mind,
As we took our seats in class.
The tattered walls,
The creaky floors,
The wobbly desks,
All reminded me
What a perfect lie that was.
There’s no justice for us.
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