Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


The American People [AUDIO]

in Politics by


When I hear you speak
of the American People
I ask myself what people
you’re speaking about.
And whether you’ve walked

a road like mine. Where,
more often than not,
you’ll see someone
setting out their trash,
raking leaves into a ditch.

Waving at a school bus,
after the plow drives by.
Someone who pledges
allegiance to the sky
and the honking,

migrating geese.
Looking for a cornfield
to lie down in
Before they take flight

again in the morning.
All of them, one people
you could say.
If you’re not afraid
to see a goose as a person,

taking its place
in the shifting wing
of a flock. Each one
calling to the others
to follow the changing

leader. To stay strong
for the long road ahead.
Not a road really,
but a path through
the personable clouds.

A place to disappear in
for a while. Before coming out
the other side.
Which is what the candidate
seems to be saying

to the crowd looking out
their windows.
Trying to hear what he’s
promising. Between now
and election day.

When whoever wins
will beseech, address
the American People,
those shadows leaving
their marks on the snow.

To come together as if
then was then and now
is now.
As if I can believe
what I’m hearing.



Gary Margolis is Emeritus Executive Director of College Mental Health Services at Middlebury College. His third book, Fire in the Orchard, was nominated for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His latest book, Time Inside, is recently published.

Photograph by Gary Bendig.


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