Poetry by Jennifer Lagier

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Rustic flag

Independence Day

“...the Declaration of Independence, which solidified the American colonies’ resolution to fight for their independence from Britain“– Dictionary.com

As a child, July 4th meant cold chicken, potato salad,
family picnics on blankets beneath giant Modesto ash trees
in Graceda Park, cousins circling sparklers.

Despite uncles who served during WW II,
we were never flag wavers, second and third generation
Italian Americans who liked any excuse to gather and party.

After Vietnam, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan,
I cringe at patriotism a mile wide and a millimeter deep,
lament how the holiday has been perverted.

Old Glory reminds me of goose-stepping soldiers
waving swastika banners, genocide wreaked
in the name of Das Fuhrer, the cycle repeating.

Today, I remember Brian Wilson whose legs
were deliberately amputated by a train as he protested
shipments from the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

I have marched in a local parade where Veterans for Peace
exercised their First Amendment rights, lay in front of an approaching tank,
practiced civil disobedience and were arrested.

Now I spend the fourth mourning collateral damage
inflicted upon innocents caught in crossfire, scars that will not heal,
splintered country, rising fascism, rule of law tattered.

July 2020