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Alternate Title: Stars and Stripes

By Lily WinterPublished about a month ago 2 min read
Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash


It slips by like sand in tiny hands

And before I know it

It’s time for celebration:

A jubilee for justice served

in a country that no longer feels justified.

In stores, the stars and stripes are inescapable.

Plates, bowls, cups,

Disposable items that no one will miss in August.

Paper windmills and candy

Forgettable trinkets to teach children

To love those that hurt them

In the name of our country

Because our country protects everyone under its flag

Or at least it was supposed to

But for my kids,

It’s a mixed bag.


The American flag on a pair of shoelaces.

Not “a” pair

But at least ten rows,

One for all my kids.

You’d know my kids if you see them.

My kids run barefoot because they were told

you can run better when connected to the earth

And they believed it because it was easier

than knowing shoes were too expensive

And in turn, they internalized the need to run.

When you see the children who hold flags high

in pretty colors and patterns

And scream with their whole throat to be heard,

only to have their rainbows burned to the ground like enemy cities

And denied access to bathrooms

Because in 2024, apparently going to the bathroom

is a group project,

Those are my kids.

And I love them not just out of duty,

but out of spite,

And I will love them with every drop you denied them

Because I’m big

And my anger is even bigger.

I have the gift of words,

and nothing in this world will keep me from speaking up.

Especially when my kids can’t.

No one,

No one messes with family.

The adults

who have been grown up since before they were a child,

Those are my kids too.

The ones forced to grow up because

Mommy was an alcoholic

And Daddy was addicted to his work,

And both fought to feel nothing

Instead of everything all at once,

Turning their children into smaller parents,


are my children too.

And I’ll love them unconditionally,

Like the good Christian I could never be,

And wasn’t shown many good examples of.

It’s June.

And I am invincible.

I am strong for those who can’t be,

and together we can do anything.

I can do anything.


Take my kids to the grocery store in June,

When red, white, and blue permeates every aspect of our lives,

And even shoelaces

have stars.

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About the Creator

Lily Winter

Hello! I am a twenty-year-old university student and avid writer. If you enjoy my work, a comment or tip would mean the world. To learn more about me, check out my instagram-

Personal: @lily_winter4722

Business: @lily_winter_writes

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    Lily WinterWritten by Lily Winter

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