Not the deep ermine of New England snow;
not all the diamonds of a Broadway night;
not windblown prairie wheat whose silky flow
of gold I’ve seen you wear, dazzles my sight
as do these homemade picket signs that roar, COUNT EVERY SINGLE VOTE! Cleanse what you are:
each of your three million miles and more
stained by injustice, wrongs you fail to right,
torn by fools trusted with your destiny.
Make yourself whole and steady as a star,
wearing these signs of what you mean to be!
Dominican-born former high school English teacher Rhina P. Espaillat has published 12 books, four chapbooks, and a monograph, including some in English and Spanish, and translates into and out of both languages. Her work appears in numerous periodicals and anthologies, and has earned many national and international awards. She is a frequent reader, speaker, visiting poet, and workshop leader at literary events, and co-founder of the Fresh Meadows Poets in New York and the Powow River Poets in Massachusetts.