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Kate Kretz, “Untitled (flag)” (2008), hand embroidery on deconstructed flag, batting, with padded center, 22.5 x 104 inches (courtesy of the artist)

You, with your lizard brain fueled by fear
With the anger that cycles through your body, endlessly searching for a target:
You’re such easy prey for white collars, who trick you to look the other way…
Not at the futures they themselves stole from your children,
But (over there!) at those bodies graced with more melanin.

We thought that the lesson had been learned (all you need is love, love…)
We thought humans had evolved
We thought that once we made the laws
Forcing you to live alongside those you had named as Other,
You would see
That they are just like you, your parents, and your children,
And your heart would soften.

But you, with amygdalas tied in tight knots of hatred,
Repeat this tired, unenlightened story, as old as mankind.
You are the cancer that we prayed had gone into remission.
You are the wound that keeps opening.
You are the stain on our flag.

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Kate Kretz

Kate Kretz is based in the DC area, and has received the MD Council for The Arts Grant, NC Arts Council Grant, The South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship, The Florida Visual Arts Fellowship, and,...

4 replies on “The Stain on Our Flag”

  1. Perfect summation of our national nightmare. As long as we have voting gerrymandering and the Electoral College, we can’t vote this cancer away.

  2. Another way to look at this – the flag-as-bandaid is in the process of healing a wound.

    the new blood shed in wars abroad
    finds its place in the striped cloth

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