I first penned this poem on January 20, 2009, to honor the inauguration of President Barack Obama — and was delighted to garner First Place as “The Inaugural Poem We Should Have Had” in an online competition. In 2016, I added audio.
Invite me into the circle and guide me
to the spot that bears my name
Escort me with a steadying touch,
loose your hold and bear me aloft
Include my joy and ebullience,
my hope and promise,
The tracks of endless tears
and the wounds of struggle and pain
that have marked the past.
Include me raw and refined,
Include me enriched and diminished,
broken and healed
Embrace me as the one anointed and demeaned,
Privileged and impoverished by stature, circumstance
or the trajectory of an inconstant moon.
Include my willingness.
Reap the fruits of surrender
I have cultivated for this moment
Lead me through a doorway unadorned,
a hallway lined with latency,
Pass the drinking gourd so that all who thirst
May sip the undilute nectar of belonging.
Include me as woman, man, brother, sister,
Include me offering and offered,
receiving and giving, creator and creation
Weave the strands of my soul
into a blossoming tapestry of voices
Joined by the shared heart of humanity
and a long-aching hunger for unity.
Use every part of me
Include the infinitesimal and the inestimable
Lift me at once to my full height and humility
Draw out my hidden gifts and squandered talents
And draw me into the arms of others
who await my arrival.
I am here in this Now,
Filled with passion, with purpose
My prayer but so simple: