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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

20 JANUARY 2009

by Matthew Quinn

Let the devils
burned by the brushing wings
of history
gather with the throng:

Fastidious Booth
and wild haired Calhoun,
Nathan Bedford Forrest,
a rogue's gallery of slave masters.
All are elbowed and jostled,
buried beneath a sea
of small American flags
waving, saluting
through the length and breadth
of the mall.

Let an angel hover, also.
From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
Dr. King looks forward
through the Washington Monument,
through Selma's bloody streets,
through the balcony of the Lorraine Motel
to the Capitol steps,
to a hand resting
on Lincoln's Bible.

With the last word
of the inaugural address
Dr. King looks down,
takes the hand of Emmett Till.
Silent, they walk down
the memorial steps
and dissolve into the crowd,

one dream,
at least,
no longer deferred.

Matthew Quinn is a freelance writer, editor and researcher. He resides in St. Louis, Missouri, with his muse and a menagerie of disembodied voices.