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An Itemized Receipt for Freedom

By Christian Gilman Whitney

Come and take it—take the 148 grams of sugar, the 1500 rounds of 9mm per resident, the avoidable tragedies, the hashtags about a city’s strength, a six-figure hip replacement, a pre-fab by the interstate, an eight-dollar latte, avocado toast, avocado toast from Dunkin’ Donuts, sirens in the middle of the night, the 200-foot tall crucifix by the interstate, the unending wars, MQ-9 Reaper Drones, ATM overdraft fees, come and take the lifted Dodge Ram with the leather seats and the Punisher sticker on the back window and the silver testicles hanging from the bumper, the 300 square feet of exposed brick for three thousand a month, an overpriced quarter acre in a decent neighborhood, vinyl siding, leaf blowers in the morning, sirens in the morning, HMMWVs, come and take a whole forest plowed to nothing to make way for the sprawl, the schools, the new Starbucks, McMansions by the interstate, a row of yellow school busses spewing diesel smoke, eight refills of oxycodone, come and take the warehouses by the interstate, a new self-storage facility, the heroes on minimum wage, teachers with three jobs, thank you for your service, thank you for your sacrifice, moral bankruptcy, medical bankruptcy, come and take the corn syrup, the bulletproof backpacks, the active shooter drills for kindergartners, a flag at perpetual half mast, please, please, come and take it all away, come and take me.

Christian Gilman Whitney was born and raised in Western Massachusetts and received his MFA from Bennington College.

Art by Jeff Kallet.


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