you shakespearean tragedy,
an anthology of blasphemies.
I imagine liberty’s face
as she watches her disowned son
brand everything he touches
with her last name.
Do she curse her womb?
Does she blame her thighs?
Does she try to erase the stretch marks
hiding the evidence of a crime?
And I imagine lady liberty as she swears off children.
Swears off men.
Diluting her wine glass with tears
After getting her tubes tied
Asking what good came from them.
Did she watch america’s sins
Like the mother of shooter,
The guilt building mountains in her stomach,
Setting fires in her ears?
Did she build a church
over the land of the massacre?
Did she pour holy water over the bloodied soil
Until it could be called
I bet liberty adopted the children that america did not love,
I bet she gave them birthday parties instead of funerals,
I bet she prayed an apology into their necks
As she tucked them into bed
After planting the american dream into their heads.
And I bet liberty has found company with God
And those that have had their names stolen from them.
And I think liberty is tired of watching people worship her
At the altar of a god she does not recognize.
I think liberty is tired of her name being used in vain.
I think liberty wishes her people would stop calling this eden,
Would stop calling this promised,
Stop calling this good,
that they would find what she had intended in the rubble of what they misunderstood.
But I think liberty is trying to forgive her son,
I think she still keeps a picture of him on the fridge,
I think she imagines all that he could have been.
And I bet on the fourth of July
She sinks into her chair,
Her hips tired from holding all the children he abandoned,
Her lips cracked from praying a thousand prayers.
I bet she wonders where she went wrong.
But I think she leaves the front door unlocked,
I bet she lives in a house without walls,
bet she built a home with beds to catch anyone that falls into its warmth.
I think she keeps the coffee hot,
A home cooked meal on the stove,
I bet the thunder of empty stomachs has been replaced with the calm after the storm,
and her couch has an empty spot,
she has abandoned her throne,
waiting to welcome her estranged son
if he ever decides to come home.
This poem was performed as a spoken word piece for the Just Mercy Summit at Eastern University.
Megan Malkemes is a youth organizer from Boston, MA. She has been involved in faith-rooted community development work in her neighborhood with the Boston Project Ministries, has worked with groups such as March for Our Lives and Vote16, and delivered a TEDx Talk titled “Why Everyone Needs to Stop Problem-Solving” on the importance of collaborative approaches to justice work. She is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science at Eastern University in St. David’s, PA. Follow her on Instagram and twitter @megmalkx.