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Dasgupta, Meera, Uncle Sam’s Alphabet Soup

DASGUPTA, MEERA

Meera Dasgupta
Age: 15, Grade: 11

School Name: Stuyvesant High School, New York, NY
Educator: Annie Thoms

Category: Poetry

Uncle Sam’s Alphabet Soup

Uncle Sam’s Alphabet Soup
was supposed to be salad but 
when the kettle started boiling 
it was no wonder that identity began to melt.
 
Did you know that millions of kids learn the alphabet song every year?
You’ve probably heard it yourself a couple of times.
Well, buy Uncle Sam’s Alphabet Soup 
for a small fee of 
childcare, healthcare, and general social welfare 
in order to reminisce about the good ol’ days
while staring down 
at the municipal letters below.
 
A, B, C
american born chinese.
Add a “D” and you’d get
american born confused desi
as if our minds can’t take in
the so-called rights they say we have been given.
“E” for the elephant in the room when we proclaim
“F” for freedom even though it should stand for 
forgotten like the minority.
“G” because when they say you get what you give 
“H” how does one ignore the hollowed faces of the young and starving?
“I” because selfishness comes before selflessness in the dictionary
to those whose serpentine tongues click
“J”
“K”
just kidding
to the aluminum-wrapped families at the border.
“L” loss, because love has turned into
a capitalist endeavor chock-full of “i’m sorrys”.
“M” for my name and
“N” for my brother’s,
but politicians don’t really care. So, 
“O” for all the people who seems to have an opinion about our bodies,
but periods don’t exactly bleed red, white, and blue.
 “P” because the pressure is like a tidal wave and yet we still
“Q” question why people believe that giving up is a viable option.
“R” reality means
“S” survival because when attempting to
“T” tame the American beast you’d better write yourself a ballot
(a pen is mightier than a sword you know).
“U” for a universal problem that requires a universal solution and for 
“V” verbs over nouns because actions 
“W” work better than verbatose.
“X” xenophobia is a smokescreen that hides in broad daylight 
“Y” yet we keep making excuses.
We have to stop making excuses.
 “Z” for zeal.
Something progressive in a world where we are 
alphabetized.
Categorized.
Where small children know how to spell
“G U N” over “L O V E” 
because every lock-down could be a death sentence.
 
America has become a soup that we simply have to shove down our 
throats and swallow.
Well,
not unless we push away the bowl and write our own damn recipes.
Let these words be an omen.
 
Now you know your “a b c”‘s.
Let this revolution begin with me.