Wings Press, San Antonio, Texas


, by Margaret Randall

The Morning After

—To the children

It’s the morning after and the polar bear
licks blood
from his foot’s white fur.
Ice is jagged and cuts, its islands recede
to the beat of human denial.
Far to the south: a dying parrot’s heart cries.
It’s the morning after and beneath the wall
long scarring our southern border
tunnels carry coyotes and their human cargo
while real coyotes and smaller animals
burrow for daily bread, unaware
of a madman’s ravings, pompous threat.
It’s the morning after. I wish there was a pill.
So many hard-won battles tremble
on this map redrawn by hatred’s hand.
The Bully in Chief stands before us:
triumphant, tricked by the deceptive weave
of his own Emperor’s New Clothes.
It’s the morning after and emergency rooms
fill with attempted suicides:
queer teenager, black youth, young girl
who hoped her ceiling would begin to crack,
boy whose brother was murdered by the cop
still riding his neighborhood patrol.
Six-year-old Maia tells her mother Wake me
when Hillary wins. The next morning
she is afraid to go to school:
If we speak Spanish in the street,
she wants to know,
will they send us away?
It’s the morning after. Shock subsides
to fear and rage
throughout the world.
But beware of an elite
still measuring loss by lies and votes,
unable to hear the real stories:
It’s the morning after, one of many. Listen
to the heartland’s threatened factory,
another child who wakes up hungry,
love too afraid to speak its name
or the single mother of three
without a home.
Trust me rings hollow on the liar’s lips.
I will fix it isn’t the answer.
Only together can we resist:
by loving, creating,
and embracing the vulnerable among us
four more years.