I’ve seen the back of my banner.
The stripes are as they were, in alternating succession, one moment white in professed innocence, the next red in righteous anger. Thirteen of them, just as intended. The blue is now to the east, oriented to the orient, the rising sun. The stars boastful in their symmetricality.
But now as I see the back panel of my flag, I see the frayed edges, the grounded red stripe nearly dissolved into air. Stars have fallen off, some hang by one of their sword tips, some with hazardous hand sewn back on with blackened thread, bursting in and out of the glossy fabric, slashing the star in gory scores. While others still look fresh from the needle’s eye, having not endured the time since past from their author’s passing, frozen in their royal blue sky.
I see your silhouette from the other side, where I once was. You will not be moved. Nor will I, having seen such a sight. To profess my banner the true banner above yours, I risk a lie shrouded from even my eyes in fickle belief.
Yet here am I, on foreign shores, and find the remainder of civilization upon each arm. They, whom you’ve never considered, make my banner, by democratic decision, not alternative, but true.
And, if you be not careful, it is in their banners that I and my generation will wrap ourselves–having woke from the American Dream, setting off to find liberty elsewhere, waving to our Lady’s back from an outbound boat.