(Miami, October 2008)
The awesome weight of the world had not yet descended
upon his athlete’s shoulders. I saw someone light but not feathered
jog up to the rickety stage like a jock off the court
played my game did my best
and the silent crowd listened and dreamed.
The children sat high on their parents’ shoulders.
Then the crowd made noise that gathered and grew
until it was loud and was loud as the sea.
What it meant or would mean was not yet fixed
nor could be, though human beings ever tilt toward we.
—Elizabeth Alexander, from The American Scholar, in The Best American Poetry 2011