Tuesday Sep 24

Yin Poetry Emily Yin is a freshman studying applied math at Princeton University. Her writing has been recognized by the UK Poetry Society and the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. Read her work in Indiana Review Online, Track Four Journal, and Rust + Moth, among others.
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Spangled

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America— //

            we cauterize our skin red white blue // as if one wound could heal another,

            as if all that red

were enough to make the Republic for which they stand // our loving fatherland.

            Father, where were you when One Nation

repatriated your children // Under God // to countries they never knew?

Speak up, they say, but our voices are not hoarse // from lack of use.

            If we raised a cry

& no one heard // did we make a sound?

Why don t you go back to your country, they say // the outrageous kindness with which

            they dissolve all trust & treaty rattles // our bones.

What folly it is

            to conflate home & homeland.

Weren t we born

            of the same womb & weaned on the same anthem // of liberty and justice for all?

O Father, they have not charted the terrain // of our hearts—how

            could they know the way // we are moved

                        by slow country sunsets and city lights, the way

            we are moved by you?

The ghosts of ancestral villages // storm our dreams & refuse to die.

We are divided in love, not loyalty.

           Surely, we thought, they will know //

that love is indivisible.

            Surely.

We will genuflect ourselves // at the altar of the Stars & Stripes,

            but this test of faith is Sisyphean, never ending:

Father, our knees // are already weak. If rising is a sin,

            still

                        we will rise.

                        If rising is a sin,

do not save our souls.