I remember him in the misted vision of toddler years
and again in girlhood, the booming voice on TV,
someone grown-ups talked about, eyelids flapped wide.
Elders huddled 'round the screen enraptured,
in fear for him, in awe.
I remember him.
His words swept the land, singing our passion.
Dogs growled in streets. Men in sheets.
Police battering my people. (Water, a weapon.)
Yet my people would rejoice... And mourn.
I remember him, a fearsome warrior crying peace,
a man--blemished by clay, the stain of sin as
any other, calling on the Rock--
Death's sickle on his coat tails,
yet he spied glory.
Shall we walk again and remember him,
not as the Madison Aveners do,
but in solitude and hope
with acts of courage and compassion,
with lives of greater scope
carving fresh paths of righteousness?