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The Irony of Democracy

She's sleeping now as I watch 
her; angelic, innocent—most 
importantly—happy.
How do I tell her? It's become a 
type of obsession.
How do I tell her? My nights are 
spent rearranging phrases; 
hoping for a turn of events.
How do I look her in the eyes 
and explain what freedom 
means in our country?
"I'm sorry love," I sing to her 
while she rests, “for bringing 
you into the world already at the 
bottom."
And she will grow, stretch like 
the limbs of the great sequoias.
Her classes will be filled with 
dreams and motivations. Reach 
for the stars; you can achieve 
anything, just warped, candy-
coated reflections of the 
diminishing American Dream.
And when she grows she will 
detest me—if only momentarily
—for my lack of social standing.
"Why does life have to be so 
hard?" she will cry, her teenage 
feet will stomp with more force 
than they did as a child, and the 
cheap clothes dressing her 
ever-changing body will be 
nothing more than a reminder. 
They will be nothing more than 
a suffocating cage of fabric.
How do I tell her, I slaved to 
climb the executive ladder, and 
failed to get any higher?
"I'm so sorry; love, for not 
representing the nation's elites, 
but falling into the poverty of the 
masses." I will whisper in 
response to her distress.
I tried! I wanted to give you a 
decent life; I wanted to give you 
a head start for achievement!
The drive to succeed for her is 
almost unbearable.
She's sleeping now as I watch 
her; she only recently learned 
how to walk.
Still, my nights are spent 
stringing the thoughts and 
words together; wishing our 
lives were better; wishing that I 
could shield her.
Soon, she will learn how small 
her voice sounds in comparison 
with the screams of the nation.
How do I tell her?
 
Instead,
I kiss her forehead, and tuck her 
in.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2013




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Date: 11/13/2013 7:57:00 PM
Enjoyed your poem and how it compares the gritty now and future with child innocence. I think she'll be proud that you went after your dreams if one of them is writing poetry.
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Date: 11/12/2013 11:56:00 PM
Wow! This is poignant! Very well expressed Courtney - Democracy is touted as the best form of government, yet it is because of it that so many find themselves in dire situations. It's worse when you have someone depending on you and the tenets of democracy cannot be explained to such innocence. You've brought out the theme very well.
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