for martin, on his birthday.
I had a dream once, too, Dr. King, and you
Were in it–only, and here is the miracle,
That early morning, April 4, had never happened,
And you had lived on to a venerable old age,
A silver-tongued, silver-haired preacher of peace.
And here’s the thing: You walked into Cricket’s
With all those Southern gentlemen you wrote from your
Birmingham jail, just like the beginning of a bad joke
My subconscious was telling me (some preachers
And a rabbi walk into a bar, and…)
And even though you were all men of the cloth
I brought you a round of drinks and proposed
A toast unsolicited but welcomed: “Here’s to the
End of all things not eternal.”
Then all you old men dreamed your dreams and
Saw them come to pass–every gesture of
Reconciliation, every brown-skinned boy with
A blue-eyed girl–no longer apathetic, no longer
Afraid of what was behind your fences.
So I brought around the bread and wine like you asked
And you feasted the feast of deliverance.
Then I woke up–winter morning, January 15--
and I remembered, and gave thanks.