November 8, 2016

There are two kinds of people in the world:

there are those who believe they are right,

and those who believe the one’s who think

they’re right are wrong, and through years

by the thousand, nothing much has changed.


Of course the details are shaped by context,

whittled into rabbits that want chasing, or

duck calls meant to bring prey into range, or

gods that fit into pockets where fingers can

find and rub them ‘til they shine.


The denominator has always been difference;

the unlikeness of brothers or the order of

birth, the pigment of skin or the iris of eyes,

the shape of the head or the color of hair,

the height attained and noses beaked or wide,


these are the unlikenesses that divide us into

us and them; the rationale imposed at a glance

that keep us wary and apart, unwilling to share

the well, the temple, or the harvest and we are

rich with judgment that we toss like loose coins


to beggars, knowing there is more from whence

that came with plenty to spare and it costs us

nothing to fling it at those who have none, and

the have-nots gather not wealth but the pathogen

of fear, and a new generation is seeded with hate.


We could blame the Almighty for all of this, for

his interest in Abel over Cain, but that evokes a

worrisome faith that the Lord hasn’t finished with

favorites and may yet mark lines we thought

were drawn at our heels and not our toes.


No matter the outcome of choice and elections,

our history will always bear witness to how much

the us-ness of us is salved by keeping the them-ness

of them at a distance, praying that our differences

are clear and we are the ones who are right.


© Dana Hughes 11.8.16

2 thoughts on “November 8, 2016

  1. Something of a departure for you, this: longer, more direct, less whimsical, and a bit more prose-ish than usual. Still, there are the gorgeous little images that make your poems so delightful and engaging: “whittled into rabbits that want chasing,” or “gods that fit into pockets where fingers can/ find them and rub them ’til they shine” or “rich with judgment we toss like loose coins” or again, “lines we thought/ were drawn at our heals [sp? on purpose?] not at our toes.” I like it very much. One of the fascinating things about this election season is how–beneath the din and cacophony of the Internet–there are a few sane voices taking a long look at the long view. Yours is one, and I’m grateful. Thanks for this refreshing poem.

    • thank you for your kind words, as always, and for catching my spelling mistake. i suppose i shall have to buy a field now, but i would like to buy it in Ireland or New Zealand.

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