Wednesday, 6 May 2020


by Jill Crainshaw

(almost four years ago) 

class a farm team ball game 
a mid-sized southern city 
girl in yellow crocs 
toddler size 11 
“Oh, say can you see?” 

her hand over her heart 
scrutinizing a standard star-showered 
stalwart and still 
while summer cicadas whirred and thrummed 
“What so proudly we hailed.” 

my phone buzzes the news 
glass dome fragmenting 
“first woman nominated by a major party” 
while a hometown soprano soloes 
“At the twilight’s last gleaming.” 

does she see, this croc-clad citizen? 
the spangled signpost unfurling 
a wished-upon possibility too-long postponed 
“O’er the land of the free 
and the home of the brave.” 


she wears red converse high tops now
youth size six 
“Oh, say can you see?” 
eyes scrutinize a cloudy night sky 
for wished-upon dreams 
given another rain check 
“I thought there was room for me.” 

(four more years) 

she longs to walk through 
sharp shattered shards 
but the glass gleams rock hard
slippery as winter ice 
“O’er the land of the free 
and the home of the brave” 

(“I pinky-promise”) 

she persists. “Madam President” i whisper into 
the breath of the soaring anthem
long-muted voices rise up with mine
arch the glacial canopy
until it breaks loose and
we become galaxies of wished-upon
stars beating our fiery wings
flying—finally—fierce and free

* * * * *

Jill Crainshaw is a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She enjoys exploring how words give voice to unexpected ideas, insights and visions.

1 comment:

  1. Dazzling, crackling with irony. The piercing fragmented glimpses work keenly as a time compressor, and the overarching baseball anthem analogy is wickedly perfect.