Sunday, January 20, 2019


Next Eight Years
I’ll be fifty-five next month.
In eight more years, I’ll be
of legal age to retire, if I hit the Lotto.
I will not allow the antics of Forty-Five
to ruin these next eight years
of work, of art, of major organs
poised for minor failure
Nor will I refer to him
by any of the clever names
the media has concocted:
“Orange Monster.”
He will not be named at all in my house,
no flag, no celebration at his ascent,
a name that would be as fire on the tongue,
unworthy of praise, or energy
to demonize at every turn.
In the Bible book, God asks Adam to
name the animals. Even with all His work,
they aren’t complete until Adam labels them.
Even the Earth is unfinished until God
make a light to show off all the working parts.
In my house, Forty-Five’ll never be complete.
In my lucky house, two sound white people,
intelligent, working for now, have the luxury
of leaving Forty-Five in the dark,
his name missing from our personal headlines,
private conversations over regular dinners,
in well heated bedroom, too.
Presidents come and go, all colors.
It is the woman down the block
I’m concerned with today:
Can she read? Where does she sleep?
Will her body be as safe as mine for the next eight years?
How can I help?

--Cheryl A. Rice

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