Native of Heaven

What if we had

a female president

right here on the ground

in 2014.

Would they make jokes about her blood on SNL?

Or compare her shocking term

to the spacious cycle of a lily?

Would hate or pity win?

I guess I don't want to do it

but I would like

dental insurance.

I care about my skull.

What if when I got my check

it was a decent portion

of a full year's salary

marking with the strength of math

every hour I'd spent

teaching children how to read.

Every winter in our world

I could use that money

to pay for my heat.

So sheepishly

raised by the dead

and dying men

I might step into

high hot water

and wait for spring.

Even once it drained

there wouldn't be much

space for someone else.

Opaque in my periphery

might stand steadily

the shapes of houses, settled sky,

ice crystals, concrete

grains and flowers,

clean April wind,

and my leaders, so good

at shutting doors.

What if my kid grew up in this

a little dead between the categories?

Is it not strange that man –

with the pages of history spread out before him –

is so slow to admit

the intellectual power,

the moral heroism of woman,

and her identity with himself.

If we could first know where we are

we could then better judge

what to do, and how to do it.

It will become all one thing

or all the other.

Where is the broad and generous confidence

in the efficiency of true

democratic institutions?

You cannot deny one class

the full measure of their natural rights

without imposing restraints

upon your own liberty.

These things were said by

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Abraham Lincoln,

and Carl something a century and a half ago.

Ten years later

Lincoln's long gone clamor

went wandering to claim that

the mystic chords of memory

stretching from every battlefield

and patriot grave, to every living heart

and hearthstone, all over this

broad land will yet swell

the chorus of the Union

when again touched, as surely they will be

by the better angels of our nature,

but I don't think it happened.

A few days ago

one of my students

argued against equal pay

while I stood in front of him.

The girl to his right

apologized after class

for being such an airhead.

When I was 14, this girl my age

was raped at school

and in the morning

they announced it.

She was called a liar and a dumb slut.

She transferred and I ran into her.

Maybe she'll be president.

It might be sort of like

how it is now

except we'd have a woman show the way

while we listened to her speak.