(Miami, October 2008)
The awesome weight of the world had not yet descended
upon his athlete’s shoulders. I saw someone light but not feathered
job up to the rickety stage like a jock off the court
played my game did my best
and the silent crowd listened and dreamed.
The children sat high on their parents’ shoulders.
Then the crowd made noise that gathered and grew
until it was loud and was loud as the sea.
What it meant or would mean was not yet fixed
nor could be, though human beings ever tilt toward we.
From Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010 (Graywolf Press, 2010). Copyright © 2010 by Elizabeth Alexander. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Graywolf Press.