Aretha/Inauguration

January 20:
Sitting on the sofa
Puppy on my lap

Just me at home with him
watching the sleek new HDTV
with count-the-wrinkles resolution

Sun pouring onto us this morning
and the Rockies in the distance

From somewhere
was it dusty country Oklahoma
nearly 60 years ago

From somewhere
was it sultry 60’s Houston
middle school in a buckle of the Bible belt district

From somewhere
surely the place – as Molly Ivins said -
that I realized they were lying about race
and wondered what else they lied about too

From somewhere
was it my early 20’s working learning
law school at night
Or my late 20’s moving up to Colorado
standing up in court
conferring in the jails
with clients in assorted shades

From somewhere
it was my personal soundtrack in college: Aretha’s LPs

From somewhere
it was eighth grade class where we read
the United States Constitution aloud, every last word -
and discussed it

From somewhere
it was the place in my heart
those complicated chambers belonging to my father
whose journey ended too soon long ago

From somewhere
came a lump into my throat this morning

It only went away when Aretha started singing
it dissolved into tears down my face

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