Lines on a Flag that Means Freedom

by Emma Gilpin

Lines on a flag that means freedom,
The same freedom that lets
A kid walk into a shop and stand in line
To buy a weapon.

Lines on a page from centuries past
Enshrined in a mythology
That says this is freedom,
This wild west, Hunger Games fantasy of a kid
In a bedroom
Posting swastikas on Instagram
And hating the girls who think he’s a loser.

Lines of a bullet, clear and defined,
Slice through lines of innocents, disordered and lost,
As their studies of lines of Shakespeare
And lines on trigonometric graphs
And the lines that divide
One blood drenched state from another,
Are interrupted.
The guidelines that taught them to hide under desks
Abandoned as they open
Lines of contact
To mothers, fathers, friends
To text one last little line.

Lines on a Twitter feed
“God bless. A tragedy. Terrible news.”
Lines, empty of meaning
Delivered by a man with money
Lining his pockets
And streaks of orange
Lining his strange, white hair.
The lines on the pages are angry
And sad, but never surprised.
Lines of protesters march down the street
Their line is “Never Again”
But steadily desks continue to line up,
To join the seats emptied of friends.
Lines need to be drawn, and I’m drawing my own now.
It’s a line from me to you
So I can send you all the courage I have
So that somewhere down the line
This will all just be a few lines
In the history of your peaceful home.  

The Poor Print

Established in 2013, The Poor Print is the student-run newspaper of Oriel College, Oxford. Written by members of the JCR, MCR, SCR and staff, new issues are published fortnightly during term. Our current Executive Editors are Siddiq Islam and Jerric Chong.

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