The Specter


Maybe he’s a listener

but probably

not to these words.

 

Perhaps he can see

the thousands

of fingers

pinched

around many

writing implements

to defend, destroy, defy

his very name.

 

But for no longer standing,

he’s a better dam

now than ever before.

 

Holding in all those dreams

to not fall

on barren land

but only

irrigate the crops

worth saving

and sometimes

that’s the whole plain

and sometimes

a single

dandelion.

 

There is no waste.

 

And in leisure

play in the pool

And in school

take the swimming lesson

 

And in old age

wade out a few feet

for memories’

sake.

 

The specter above and below

and certainly before

knows,

guides and forgives

with wit

and a phrase

turned just such a way

for all folk

because sometimes

there’s a certain accent

that sells

a joke better

and pulls tears

down

to the wells

of the cheeks.

 

(For Langston Hughes)

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