Weekly poem on Trump Presidency



Fist State

Maybe you don’t remember the fist
Robert Kennedy gave grape pickers,
picketers and freedom riders ready for him
to make right what during those wars
was going wrong. Maybe you forgot
the thumb pressed to a fist like a lid
to a can ready to pop, missed the mast
on a boat fortified for a storm,
were not yet born to believe
testicular grit can galvanize
an erection of hope, or maybe
you don’t know how
to make of yourself a stick and light it
for what we know by now should be.
There are days so mean and raw,
I put up my hands to cover my face,
looking for a dime of courage
in a dollar of fear, only to find
one is just one half the other.
Even if you weren’t there,
you remember from childhood
the body severed one minute,
the head in one box, a pair of legs
in another, rise and walk off stage
in one piece the next after a man
waved his hand like there’s nothing
a hand can’t set right. That hand.
That fist. Hold it up and wave it about
until the air begins to stir the air around it,
then the air around it. I’m telling you,
even if you weren’t there you remember
that fist. What you don’t is the shot. 


Valerie Bandura’s HUMAN INTEREST (2017) is published by Black Lawrence Press. Her book, FREAK SHOW (Black Lawrence Press, 2013) was a 2014 Patterson Poetry Prize finalist. Her recent poems have appeared in American Poetry ReviewThe Gettysburg Review, and Ploughshares, among others. She teaches creative writing at Arizona State University where she lives with her husband, fiction writer Patrick Michael Finn, and their son..