Poem: Memories of the Presidency / by Shanelle Gabriel

I remember hi-5ing strangers/ car horns blaring like Emancipation/ union square park was an impromptu block party celebration/ even chess players took a break from their money making deliberation/ to join the jubilation/ Obama became president of our nation/ and it was like we spent years trying to double Dutch/ and the world stopped trying to choke us with the rope/ society finally moved in sync/ allowed a Black man to jump in/ praise God he had rhythm/ steps quickened when congress sped up and slowed down their pace/ but it was great to see some resemblance of sanity in the Oval Office/ amidst the pride of the era/ we made the error of not thinking what's next/ Someone jumping in that we didn't expect/ forget jumping in/ thisstole the rope/ treated this like a game/ I know manhunt when I see it / everything all fun and laughs/ until someone loses an eye/ or a constitution/ or the progress it took 8 years to build/ Am I the only one filled with trepidation when I crack open the newspaper/ am I the only one afraid/ am I the only one who doesn't know how to explain/ to a generation who never had two chose the lesser of two evils/ who don't know what it's like to have candidates with scandals/ with multiple wives/ how do we explain democracy when we/ have empty seats meant for checks and balances/ when the only people of color politicians consider Americans have to be spray tanned/ what do I say to make the orange boogie man go away/ to comfort those who know that things can and will get worse before they change/ our president with his shovel of a tongue digging the graves of those who can no longer migrate to keep families safe/ what do I say to comfort the child on the train afraid her mom will be sent away/ will the dreamers awaken to ICE chipping away at their future/ repeals ripping healthcare away at the seams/ how do I teach them to close their eyes/ count from 1-5/ breathe/ believe it can't get any worse/ breathe/ your legacy still has worth/ be comforted by the fact this isn't the last time you'll have to be your own President/ breathe/ don't let this world fill your lungs with fear/ breathe/ this too shall pass