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A poem about Cynthia McKinney

Cynthia McKinney Cast the Lone Dissenting Vote

spacespacespacespacespachhhpace–from a Georgia native

by Amy King

An equation enacts its splayed self,
soft organs delicate, exposed, intact.
A reader licks the stigmata of words
left out, quiets a redder rust stripping
her superhero down. The citizen pretends
the one unknown entity distressed.

Except the more I spoke her rejection aloud,
the more sense knocked us out—

Very well then, I contradict
myself: I am a Democrat opposed
to hand-to-hand death, a Republican
in the hierarchy of man over human,
an Independent bidding on noble killers,
those lean-to shacks of three-party wealth.

As for the personal
subjunctive,
I don’t like pink—
it looks weak,
the way they
make it into soft things.

For the penance of politics, I’ve smeared
my fingerprints, my lungs itch,
and the sweat that numbs
won’t appease our satellite feed tonight.

Just as one might consider the ways heaven
manifests, you walk into a field
where stands a flag with the number seven,
and you’re hit in the neck
by small dimpled balls of age and sting.

Each golfer keeps track of his dollars for taxes,
traces lines on hook-and-worm truths,
the stench of bills leaving finger-safe harbors
with a small hope that one day
our vacant factories will exhale and collapse.

We bare teeth for the promise
of the sportsman within,
tongues crossed behind
our smiles, unhinged with terror in grief.

Baptismal justice is constantly sought,
conclusive truth a bargain unused,
that these things we feel
might be translated, that these fears
will turn into wooden crosses,
readied to balance and mount.

Likewise, we tend to leave the circle,
seeking the labyrinth in a mole’s damp tunnels,
hoping all that’s found will be lost again.

Just as the days of youth
are not yet upon me, I have seen my own buildings
in the distance and disregarded them.

I have lain my guns and children down.

Closer to calm each morning, I know,
like demon young women before me,
it is only a matter of streets
before I am lost enough
to meet my next life
in a New York City heat.
Beyond these tunneled grounds,
she cast her lone dissenting vote.

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