Cain

— Dennis Richardson

Remembering Doctor King

This morning I awoke in time to catch the 747
as it left the bedroom, my wife waving good-bye
from her dream. New Years Day, having passed two weeks ago,
I was flying into some of my old resolutions.
My first stop today, the Caribbean, I love bananas.
My mother would slice and flavor them with sugar.
I tell my wife it’s the little things that count
but she still wants to go to Australia.
Yesterday was Doctor Kings birthday.
We celebrated it again without him,
forty-four years without his poetic voice,
meaning upon meaning beyond meaning.
My granddaughter had her half birthday
the day before his. She is four and a half,
not here to see the replays of the shooting, to
weep with that world who knew just how wrong it was.

And those people, Doctor King, who would not cry,
still in favor of servitude, want to destroy Democracy,
that fragile flower first planted here,
whose petals you sought as freedom for all.
In the animated allegory of my life,
my first thought was I’ll be a squirrel, cute and fast.
Actually, when I was a child, I wanted to be a bear
so I wouldn’t have to be afraid of anyone.
But bears can be killed by men with guns,
even you were killed standing for non-violence,
for the dream of freedom and understanding,
not what is, but what should be.

One thought on “Cain

  1. Dennis, there is marked dichotomy in this poem: the depictions of your life are rather charming, but there is clear and definite sadness when Dr. King’s death is mentioned in the poem, as if to say that after all these years, after a lifetime, the tragedy of his death has still not diminished.

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