by Catherine Wald
"Nearby, off to one side, Mahalia Jackson shouted: 'Tell them about the dream, Martin!'” —Drew Hansen, The New York Times, August 27, 2016
I heard this story from a Friend who was there at the
Mall in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963.
It was, the Quaker said, a woman from the speaker’s congregation
who interrupted the great man’s speech.
“Tell them about your dream, Martin,”
(Later I learned it wasn’t just any little old
church lady, but Mahalia Jackson.)
“Tell them about your dream!”
That was when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put down his
prepared pages and began to preach his vision.
That was when the capital crackled with electricity
and the words caught fire.
They’re still burning today.
Catherine Wald’s chapbook Distant, burned-out stars was published by Finishing Line Press in 2011. Poems have appeared in American Journal of Nursing, Buddhist Poetry Review, Chronogram, Dragonfly, Friends Journal, J Journal, Jewish Literary Journal, "Metropolitan Diary" (The New York Times), Minerva Rising, Quarterday Review, The Lyric and Westchester Review. She is author of The Resilient Writer: Tales of Triumph and Rejection from 23 Top Authors (Persea 2004).