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Poem for Election Day

I wrote this poem a little less than four years ago, and I felt like sharing it today.

For Sasha and Malia Obama, 11/7/08

Little girls out late
in the evening feel
the privilege of turning
darkness into a waking hour:
The free swish of a dress
around legs just released
from the school day’s jeans;
the pride of curls in hair
usually flat by noon,
the clean snap of tights
that usually sag at the ankles.
And lights, never this bright
in the daylight, colors
never this sharp.

The order of their day
is confused, their father’s
shirt sleeves crisp now like
they should be mornings, straight
from the ironing board, the
school buses asleep now
while their children the cabs
have the run of the city.

This is how they know
the day is old and
they are young, the youngest
of those now welcomed
by the brightness in Chicago, the only
two who touch the sloping
shoulder of the man
to whom the night has fallen,
to whom the crowd is calling,
from whom a morning
is expected, the only two
who know the kind of
morning he will provide.