all the wildflowers are gone.
usually they meet their end
softly, gently—wither and
fade into the crinkled
drought of summer. but today
the men from harrison street came
and tore up the tangled wreaths of
lupine and blackberry and clover.
the hills are bald. shorn.
spots of dirt peek through.
what once was a
cacophony of color and light
has become dead straw
on the side of the road.
i suppose that’s suburban perfection—
the harrison kind, at least.
we relinquish mossy roofs for
geometric shingles, lush meadows
for sculpted lawns. we give up
wilderness for order, sell away
inborn beauty to be
upper class, and yet wonder
where our freedom has gone.
if the prize for bitten tongues and swallowed words
is a crimson-splattered chasm in the back of our necks
then we must all forfeit. what sense is there in
clinging to whiteness like religion only to be
rendered fatally silent? what pride is there in
wearily pursuing their bloody rules only to be
robbed regardless? no—we speak on our own terms,
feel the rusty words ascend our throats.
we play no longer.
we stalemate no longer.
By Anna Kiesewetter
Anna Kiesewetter is an incoming freshman at Stanford University from Issaquah, Washington. She was a 2020 American Voices Medal nominee for the Scholastic Writing Awards, and her work is published or forthcoming in Polyphony Lit, Prometheus Dreaming, Blue Marble Review, Trouvaille Review, and elsewhere. A firm believer in the psychological nature of literature, she writes to explore human experience and perception.