Poetry Festival will be held:

Saturday, April 27, 2024

2023 Winner

How to Paint the American Flag

      1. splatter red

onto the canvas / need not fear if you don’t have paint / blood will do just fine / select a place to collect a sample / yes, Uvalde / it will be fresh / flowing / from fourth-grade bodies / pinned to incarnadine carpets / with 45 mm bullets / they learned will pierce beating hearts / before american indolence / on your way out / see drawings of families / dancing under moonlight / sky plastered with crayon dots and crimson stars / see posters titled When I grow up, I hope to be… / buried beneath lifeless dreams / larger than the bodies you must hurdle


      2. add blue

but make sure it’s vibrant / like sapphire / like choking throats / knees on necks / blocking justice / from touching / George / Eric / Breonna / Ahmaud / Melanated / Skin / collect the tears / of a weeping movement / that it took death / to ignite


make sure the blue gushes / like poison / swimming in Flint waters / down household taps / through human veins / to dying lungs / hardly breathing / American air / they say it saves money / to imperil / (Black) life


      3. pour white

from above / watch it drip slowly / suffocating colors / overpowering / until all is drowned


      4. now admire

your art / take your time

remember carefully

red is for

v a l o r

blue is for

j u s t i c e

white is for

i n n o c e n c e


place your hand on your pulsing heart and shout

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…


Navin Desai

Georgetown Day School

Grade: 11