American Flag
A long maze
begins after stepping
off the plane.
Directed down this hallway
and that corridor,
behind first one
line, then another.
Misdirection is king,
even as tempers flare,
the lines keep moving.

“Are you the one we’re looking for?”

A home since my birth,
America questions my right
to step once again on her shores,
embrace her promises
of freedom and liberty,
inhale her spirit of unity,
savor her cuisine of grace.

“Are you the one we’re looking for?”

Pulled aside, questioned, belittled
with ignorance and politics-du-jour,
forced to swallow my second-class
status based on
the hue of skin,
a random cast of countenance.

“Could you be the criminal we’re looking for?”

For no other reason than a common
name, a darker beard,
a lesser human, being
taught over and again,
America isn’t free,
united, doesn’t
brim with grace.

NO! I’m not the one you’re looking for!

But keep it up,
that tipping point
is coming.
That straw will
break a thousand

Your America, that
white privileged whore,
has betrayed
me for the last time!

I want a new girl,
one who truly
loves me as a native son,
and will always,
never ask again:

“are you the one we’re looking


Oh say, can you see…

Rod C. Stryker


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