In the end, it was the wave
felled me. High-held, steady,
slender-fingered banner raised
up above those acres of crowds, lifted
as travelers in foreign lands hold up
their open palms to say I come in peace.
In peace preternatural, he walks
out to the throng. Stands there, smiling --
hand, heart, countenance wide open.
Behind the smile, always a seriousness
as he looks at the crowd, at their lives
so close to his life, looks
at his future spread out below him.
And it was how from below, he jogged
up all those steps to all those podiums
knocked together by believers
in far-flung fields and parking lots. How
he danced, loose as Astaire, down
all those stairways lowered from planes,
the planes touching down on runways
across America -- buttoning his cuffs,
waving the wave.
Waving. Not wagging back and forth
little upheld hands that beg for love or favors.
Not grandiose, gesticulating as a pontiff, nor
icy slice – conductor like, both arms
straight out as if to silence on a single note,
all the brass and strings at once.
None of that.
None of anything we have seen before.
Only the reed-slim man from Illinois
who reminds us of how, more than
a century ago, we might have looked upon
another lawyer from Illinois,
his poetry and his calm.
And then there is the poem of Michelle
and Malia and Sasha. Into the enormous light
of victory, they walk out, waving
just as he waves. And it seems that four bright semaphores
are raised on four bright standards, signaling
to North, South, East, West,
America’s exuberant return.
--- Marcia F. Brown
Marcia F. Brown of Cape Elizabeth, ME is the author of The Way Women Walk (Sheltering Pines Press 2006) and Home to Roost, Paintings and Poems of Belfast, Maine with artist Archie Barnes. Her poems and reviews have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.