ANOTHER MARCH, JANUARY 2003 

    Let it come
    like wildflowers,
    suddenly, because the field
    must have it: wildpeace.

                -- Yehuda Amichai 

    On Saturday we will travel
    the Metro to Union Statio
    and walk to the Capitol
    and demonstrate. The Maoists
    will be selling their newspapers,
    the cyclists peddling their flyers,
    transvestites flinging purple boas,
    their banner reads: Celebrate perversity! 

    We will celebrate each other Ė
     rabbis from Iowa,
     hippie girls from Delaware colleges,
     a Muslim contingent from Texas,
     high school kids with cigarettes.
     Our children will be grumpy
     and cold. They will complain.
     We will all stamp our feet and yell
     the slogans of so many years. 

     We will find the perfect
     hand-made sign:
     THE ONLY BUSH
     I TRUST
     IS MY OWN
 

     To distract our children,
     keep them giggling
     as the papier mache coffins go by Ė
     the angels of death, the skull masks,
    photos of bleeding babies Ė
    we will point to Uncle Sam on stilts,
     a silvery Statue of Liberty.
    Someone will take up the chant
    again, the drumming will continue
    and we will watch
    our breath rise into the cold
     Washington morning and disappear.

     We will not know
     where our chanting goes
     when the march is over and the Metro,
     buses, trains, long skein of cars
     returns us to Mt. Pleasant, Parsippany,
    Oneonta, Chattanooga. We who believe
     believe our chanting reaches
    the ear of God. We who do not,
    believe the thinning air receives us Ė
    our harsh and lovely voices.
    I will stand in the cold
    and try to warm my only son. 

Originally published in 5 AM, Issue No. 21.

 


          BEN TELLS ME KIDS CANíT KISS IN
                          KINDERGARTEN
 

    Ms. Prince says Germs, he says.
    One time
, he says, Josef and I were having fun
    and just started kissing each other all over
.
    Oh no, I panic: teacher conferences, public health,
    Child and Family Services.
 

    But then: Are you having a good time?
   
Ben smiles, perfectly mimicking his teacherís laughing lilt.
    And I bless the sweet teacher, her love for the boys
    as well as the girls, how she knows their restless bodies,
    their bounce, how they jostle, kiss, count to 989.

    I have carried them all in my body, walked with them
    to the farmerís market on too little sleep,
    read them Madeline and kissed their many-colored heads.
    Kindergarten is a heaven of bodies, all wild
    and wriggling on the new carpet parents paid for ourselves.
 

    Can they tell us what is coming, these boys,
    can they keep on loving their beautiful backsides?
    How long will they be doing the booty dance?

  A Note from Sarah Browning

    It was a great pleasure and honor to be one of the first  
  featured poets in Ethelbertís Muse to Muse program. 
  We met at Vertigo Books in College Park on a rainy
   Saturday afternoon - the last day of National Poetry
    Month. And what a fabulous way to celebrate poetry:
    reading poems and talking about poetry with one of 
     my favorite poets and a personal hero, 
     E. Ethelbert Miller.

    Ethelbertís questions, of course, were thoughtful 
  and engaging. We talked about craft issues - he asked
   about the use of color in my poems, for example - and
   about content: wrestling with political and moral
   themes, how my sonís voice is heard frequently in my
   work, issues of faith, the erotic. The lively audience
   joined in the discussion about the public role that 
   poetry can play, D.C. Poets Against the War, and 
   my first experience with being an editor, putting
   together the groupís anthology. We even talked 
   about the Muse! I look forward with pleasure to 
   future programs in the series, when Iíll get to 
    sit back, listen, and, no doubt, soak up some 
    inspiration.

- Sarah Browning