Editor’s Note: This is part 5 of a 5-part series of poems titled Red Summer. The rest of the series can be found here.

Content warning: ideation of violence

we sit around the table

and break bread

I accidentally call the day new years

and one of them says “don’t you dare disrespect this country”

we all laugh because

he is joking,

I know this because 

we are friends,

and yet I fantasize about shoving my fork through his hand for the rest of dinner.

I imagine pissing on every flag in a mile radius

I imagine standing on the waves of the Atlantic

and firing a rocket launcher at the mayflower

I imagine drowning the survivors before they ever saw land.

I spend this day, when we celebrate this country’s continued existence 

with my Black rage chomping at the bit

so while I contemplate letting it free to ruin dinner

I imagine plucking the fireworks from the sky

placing each one in the home of the family that sent it up

and watching the countryside burn.

how’s that for independence,

I’d say, 

how’s that for freedom?

I do not (ever) calm down

but I smile and laugh 

and we ride the train home

and America continues

for now.