You’ve been silent long enough.
It’s president’s day. We need to hear
Your sanity, your insistence that we
Will be all right. Even though
We are filled with fear
And wish we hadn’t seen the dark heart
Of ourselves, the original sin
Of our country buried not so deep in our
History of naming and blaming.
It’s not that we don’t care for
Your second; it’s just too late for him.
Now, and hopefully not for the rest
Of us, struggling on this day to right
Our ship of folly and bigotry, how you
Were treated as if you were illegitimate
While the one now blaspheming even Jesus
Has made malfeasance his calling card.
We’re waiting for your voice,
To hear you sing happy birthday to Michelle
Who we know is too smart to run herself.
Yet on this day, this president’s day, while
Those words, When they go low, still echo
In the last election, before we knew how low
Low was, we need to remember grace and dignity.
Your voice singing in the chapel of loss
Proclaiming all is not, not yet lost,
Yvonne Daley is a career journalist who returned to poetry for sanity in these troubled times. She lives in Vermont, still a sane place.
President Obama’s official portrait by Kehinde Wiley.