Why Barack is 'Ours'


Ours

My Aunt Ruth isn't doing very well
94 and the light that used to flicker behind her eyes is slipping I hope she lives long enough to see this:
Thousands upon millions on top of multitudes of us of America Women and daddies and
babies wrapped well against the District's cold And the children- who had the vision first
carried it home believed in what was possible more than what was probable

When I was 4
Aunt Ruth and I stood staring at ourselves in her dresser mirror The last hope of daylight
spread over her yellow cheekbones I had turned her into a big Barbie Put barrettes and yarn
in her black satin hair

"Aunt Ruth, are you White?"
slipped irresistibly from my innocent lips

Her mouth did not answer
Her eyes did
written on them the harsh decades she had served army men lunch at Fort McPherson
pinching nickels to send me North to school She revelled in her race and never once seemed
to wish to be anything else

Aunt Ruth won't be there on Tuesday
The journey's way too long
the air too frigid
She won't see a beautiful Brown man become what she always knew was possible the reason
she sacrificed a big life to feed hungry men and hope for a small retirement check

But we'll be there
You'll be there, right?
He'll be there
carrying all our dreams in his hands
pride in his eyes

I hope he waves at the children and the old ones like my Aunt Ruth whose faith and dreams
made this moment ours.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.