Kite Dreams

America 3

Did you see the towering black man
Who carried the infant with the finesse and precision,
Of a surgeon’s hands? Did you see the love
In his face, beaming like a lighthouse,
Calling forth the lost ships,
To have faith in him, his shining face,
That has only, the charity of a smile,
To give the white man. And isn’t that enough,
The armistices our faces exonerate
With the slightest push. Look at that man, with no chains
Around the feet, unlike his ancestors,
Who worked in cotton farms,
And hid their grief finely concealed beneath the skin
Almost like pods of peanuts that burrow down.
And how beautiful is black, that paint
Darker than any other, darker than crude oil,
Darker than coal, darker than graphite,
And still dissolves in a little crucible called America,
Where metallic elements alloy
To furnish a nation of migrants and slaves,
Whose lungs are stretched, while their hearts pump,
The pulsating feel of a colorblind alloy,
Which is unlike brass, bronze or pewter,
Is invisible and traverses through
The senses to an open heart, and is held,
And reinforced, by the forbearing eye,
To witness a watershed, a shift of the ocular
On this road to Damascus, to witness,
The collapse of skin empires.
And now, 153 years after that day in 1865,
We look at each other as Homo sapiens
Wiser, more equal, more in tune
With our effervescent hearts, that are being toppled,
As we speak, when wallpapered skin peels off,
And you get to see the bricks as they are,
Households that are sturdy,
And are built to love.

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