A Prayer for my Children
On the US Presidential Inauguration 2017
This year what you learn at school
Sitting at your tiny desks in the sunny room
Is the ‘lock-down drill’. We come from other
Countries, you remind me as you recount how
You hide in the closets, quietly
While the teacher pulls down the blinds in a hurry:
‘Is this a free country?’ you ask me
And I say ‘These are changed times.’
Out there on the campaign trail, the man
Who is now our President-elect, who talked about
Grabbing women by the pussy, calling it ‘locker room talk’
Used an arsenal of other words you should not know
And should not use, according to the laws of common decency.
‘Politicians are all the same, everywhere’, your father says
‘Vulgarity and corruption are as old as the world.’ But none of this
Excuses or heartens our hearths.
This year we bought our first house, stripped rooms
To the bare bones of wood, repaired every wall,
Sealed all the holes, changed the wiring to make it safe,
Gave it a brand-new roof, painted it all new.
Neighbors came by to thank us for the love we put in the house,
The smiles we brought to the street with the new colours.
We planted out first rose bushes and our first tree.
How can I give up on the hope that you now plant your roots?
The world within must meet the world without, my children
And nothing but love will come out of my pen
And nothing but hope will spring from my heart.
We’ll have to work at words together, pruning them back to their roots,
Our prayers must echo in the prayers from others.
I want you to take the bus to school where no one needs
The lock-down drills. I dream for you to remain innocent and play
With your friends in the fresh air, among trees, and flowers.