A silence wafted over the crowd,
As the man raised his arm to the sky.
“My people,” he bellowed into the mic,
“It is our time. The time to take our place!”
The silence burst into a rupture of applause.
I turned to my father,
Who had began to walk away, and asked,
“Where is our place?”
He paused, and turned back to me.
He knelt, and smiled a tired smile at me.
He put a hand on my shoulder,
And an arm across his chest.
“Our place is, and always will be, together.”
His voice was like a pebble
In an ocean of people.
And like a pebble,
the ripples of his words
Carried a silence through the crowd,
Until a circle of eyes landed on us.
There was a pause,
Then the man’s voice called out to us.
“What is it?”
His voice was filled with contempt.
The people edged closer to us,
And my father stood up.
“My friends,” my father called out.
He pointed to the man on the balcony,
“Do not let this man
Steal the fire of your mind!
We have lived for each other!
Not as the fists of one man!”
The crowd turned back to the man
With expectant eyes.
They seemed unsure what to do.
The man brought his fist to his chest
“Do you not see what I have brought you!
Do you not see the respect we have gained?
A respect that this man,”
He pointed at my father
“Abandoned for personal gain.”
The people turned back to my father,
With eyes full of hate.
He glanced at me, and mouthed
I backed away into crowd
And my father was pushed out of sight.
I didn’t know then
That his tired smile
Would be my last sight of him.
A voice in the East rallied the crowd,
And they charged at him.
They buried him in a rage.
Then I turned back to the man
Far up on the balcony,
And I could see a faint smile.
A smile that said he had won.