My President by Danez Smith

‘My President’ by Danez Smith is a call to celebrate a wide range of loved ones, famous names and random strangers who have touched others’ lives, elevating them to the highest title in the US. Danez Smith is the author of Homie and Don’t Call Us Dead, winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection and a finalist for the National Book Award. 

Homie by Danez Smith, flat lay on a stone textured background

    today, i elect jonathan, eleven & already making roads out of water
    young genius, blog writer, lil community activist, curls tight
    as pinky swears, black as my nation    i trust the world in his tender
    blooming hands, i trust him to tell us which rivers are safe to drink
    & which hold fish like a promise

            & i elect eve ewing, who i know would ms. frizzle the country
            into one big classroom where grandmas finger paint
            the national budget & uncles stand around smoking blacks
            plotting on stars for our escape    she could walk to the podium
            at her inauguration & say, the future is now, & we’d all marvel
            at the sun & moon looping the sky like a gif as the cars learned
            to fly & our skin grew bulletproof

& colin kaepernick is my president, who kneels on the air
bent toward a branch, throwing apples down to the children & vets

                                & rihanna is my president, walking out of global summits
                                with wine glass in hand, our taxes returned in gold
                                to dust our faces into coins

            & my mama is my president, her grace stunts
            on amazing, brown hands breaking brown bread over
            mouths of the hungry until there are none unfed

                        & my grandma is my president & her cabinet is her cabinet
                        cause she knows to trust what the pan knows
                        how the skillet wins the war

                                        & the man i saw high kicking his way down the river?
                                        he is my president

        & the trans girl making songs in her closet, spinning the dark
        into a booming dress? she too is my president

& shonda rhimes is my president

                                        & nate marshall is my president

                            & trina is my president

                    & the boys outside walgreens selling candy
                    for a possibly fictional basketball team are my presidents                 

                    & the bus driver who stops after you yell wait! only twice
                    is my pres

        & the dude at the pizza spot who will give you a free slice
        if you are down to wait for him to finish the day’s fourth prayer
        is my president

& my auntie, only a few months clean, but clean
she is my president

                                & my neighbor who holds the door open when my arms
                                are full of laundry is my president

& every head nod is my president

             & every child singing summer with a red sweet tongue is my president

        & the birds

                                            & the cooks

                    & the single moms especially

                                            & the weed dealers

        & the teachers

                            & the meter maid who lets you slide

        & the cab drivers who stop

                & the nurse’s swollen feet
        & the braider’s exhausted hands
                                            & the bartender
                            & beyoncé
                            & all her kids
                                                        & the rabbi

                            & the sad girls

                                & the leather daddy who always stops to say good morning

       & the boy crying on the train & the sudden abuela who rubs his back
       & the uncle who offers him water & the drag queen who begins to hum

                                                o my presidents!
                                                    my presidents!
                                                    my presidents!
                                                    my presidents!

                    show me to our nation
        my only border is my body

                                    i sing your names
                                      sing your names
                                               your names

                                                        my mighty anthem

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