The Sound of an American Flag Burning | Nikolai Garcia

The Sound of an American Flag Burning | Nikolai Garcia
originally published in Huizache

It’s the sound you hear
when you turn off your TV.

It’s the sound that old men make at night
as they’re sleeping on the sidewalk,
outside an empty loft building.
It’s the sound of air escaping your mouth
after you get the notice
that the rent is increasing.
It’s that same sound you heard
when you tore up that ticket
for jaywalking.

It’s the sound of your head
getting slammed on a police cruiser,
and the sound you hear
when the power company shuts off your electricity
after a hard day of working.
It’s the sound an Israeli bomb makes
after it lands on the heads of Palestinian babies.
It’s the sound heard at the unemployment office,
and the sound that comes from the stomach
of a hungry toddler.

It’s the exact same sound
that you hear in your head
when you look around
and realize
it doesn’t have to be this way.

Nikolai Garcia was raised in South Central Los Angeles. He studied creative writing and journalism at East Los Angeles College and works for a non- profit in the Skid Row area. He was recently published in the LA anthology The Coiled Serpent.