My Granddaughter Looks at a Steep Staircase and Says "I Guess the Escalator is Broken?"
The world, thank you, Caitlin, is a broken escalator, and we're all trudging.
— Marjorie Stelmach
We're standing in line at a relief station, waiting to be handed bottled water.
We're marching for peace, justice, equality; the same damn things we've been
marching for for over fifty years.
We're walking to the courthouse to register new voters, despite the mob of red-faced men
who shout and spit in our faces.
We're pushing the same boulder up the same hill.
Trudging is what we do, even though it's an inch at a time.
We're waiting for visas, for food stamps, for a measure of rice.
For winter coats, FEMA trailers, the chance of a minimum-wage
We are like ants. We keep moving forward.
Sonnet from the Psalms
Psalm 11, verse 1
Flee like a bird, a Golden Eagle rowing the air.
Rise above the mess, that quagmire
we call Washington. Float on the thermals,
don’t look down. Reach your eyrie
on the mountain. Why obsess over who's illegal?
They pay taxes, take jobs no one else wants. Borders
are a construct unknown to birds, whose migration forms will
not have passport numbers or cartes d’identity—
From the pickup sticks of an eagle’s nest,
it’s a lofty perch that overlooks the crest
of the landscape: fields, streams, rivers.,
Soar above our constant bickering.
If the earth turns to ashes, who will care
red state or blue state, the ruins flickering.
Barbara Crooker is a poetry editor for Italian Americana, and author of nine full-length books of poetry; Some Glad Morning is forthcoming in the Pitt Poetry Series. Her awards include the WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships.