Poem: How the Revolution Started (Second in a Series)
Excerpted from “How the Revolution Started: Essays and Impertinent Thoughts.”
How obvious and ingenuous and untenuous
Is the adoration she has for the child, the one she pushes in a fourteen hundred dollar
Stroller? Her smile radiates a protective shroud of love over the low chariot
And protects the sleeping boy inside, oblivious to what we sometimes call reality –
Oblivious as his parents, who pay her to push. The parents who crow to their friends,
“We pay her next to nothing and she’s grateful for it!”
She loves him as if he were her own.
On her worst days, when the bus is late or crowded
With handsy men and garlic smells, or when the dream she crafted and believed and returned
To faithfully, like a psalm, becomes hard to see, fading,
Cracking, distorting, the story ending faster
Than she wanted – on those dark angry no hope days
When she feels like a thundercloud, a riotous crowd,
What kind of world is this where one Lady goes to a job in which she sits in a chair
And talks on the phone, while the other lady, the one paid by the phone talker, watches over
The more important Lady’s child – while no one strolls with her child, her boy, the one
She leaves at home in front of the TV games with her great aunt?
She knows, she feels in the deepest part of her chest, that her boy
Is worth just as much as the boy she watches for next-to-nothing-gratefulness wages. That’s when
The rages boil, scalding the back of her vision. She’s in no mood
For decision making or new path taking. But when the wrongness brings her
Nearer to tears than God,
She allows herself a moment of precognition: She sees
herself letting go
Of the stroller. Washing her hands of the whole business. Relieved.
She spreads her arms wide, like Jesus on the cross, maybe she throws her head back
The sleeping boy will be OK, she’s sure, for yes it’s true what you saw:
she loves him as if he were her son.
That’s how it happens in her new vision. She lets go and
He’ll roll down the hill on all four wheels, all green lights, straight shot
Down the slope to the office building where his mother
Will be waiting to catch him, ready to realize
She has a son. And so does she.
And so do all the shes. And each child
Is the most important baby in the world.