Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016

A man's reflection in a puddle shows him standing tall.

On Day One [AUDIO]

in Politics/U.S. by

The chain link cages collapse,
fold up again.
Store themselves in the desert.
The Guard drives home

to train on weekends.
Everything that happened,
by Executive Order, reverses.
To make it seem as if

the nation’s starting over.
Not exactly from scratch,
but with a sense we’re beginning
to begin again. Without forgetting.

Taking all that can be remembered
into account.
The night there was a knock.
The President’s statement

about pussy. About shooting
a citizen on Fifth Avenue
and not losing the election.
Strokes he pushed with his pencil.

A phrase golfers use to call out
a cheater, a lie, back at the clubhouse.
The list that’s too long to state here
on your first day in office.

Unless, say, you’re Walt Whitman,
our Poet Laureate.
President of Including Everything
and Everybody.

Including the song of yourself.
The men on the wharves
wolfing down their lunches.
The children returned to their mothers

and fathers, wandering
the desert, singing to themselves
their anthem.
On the first day they’re family

On both sides of the border.
Watching the sky’s monitor.
The sun write its proclamation.


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.

Photo by Randy Jacob.

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