Mandela Elegy

On that day in Oakland,
every concession stand sold your t-shirt,
a silk-screened picture, fist raised
for the last leg of a world-wide tour,
close enough to July Fourth
for a double Independence Day celebration.
I brought your shirt home and stored it in a plastic sleeve
at the bottom of my drawer where you (the shirt) survived
drop-offs to Goodwill and spring cleanings.
Every so often, I rescued you from the pile
and shook out your creases, recalled the afternoon
you stood like an African Ibis in a sea of faces,
half-man half-bird, who carried
the grey granite of justice inside your gullet,
the gift of a rock pile and a long horizon,
inside the banners of our hearts flung open
with the songs of our feet on the tar and pavement.
On that day in Oakland nothing felt impossible.
But misplaced, I’m not sure what happened to the shirt—
I only feel colder since you’ve flown from this earth.

About Lenore Weiss

Lenore's collections include "Tap Dancing on the Silverado Trail" (2011) from Finishing Line Press, “Sh’ma Yis’rael” (2007) from Pudding House Publications, and "Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island" (West End Press, 2012). Her writing has won recognition from Poets&Writers (finalist in California Voices contest) and as a finalist for Pablo Neruda Prize, Nimrod International Journal. The Society for Technical Communication has recognized her work regarding Technical Literacy in the schools. All material is copyrighted on this site and cannot be used without the author's permission.
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.