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My Aunt Ruth isn't doing very well

94 and the light that used to flicker behind her eyes is slipping I hope she lives long enough to see this: Thousands upon millions on top of multitudes of us of America Women and daddies and babies wrapped well against? the District's cold And the children- who had the vision first carried it home believed in what was possible more than what was probable

When I was 4

Aunt Ruth and I stood staring at ourselves in her dresser mirror The last hope of daylight spread over her yellow cheekbones I had turned her into a big Barbie Put barrettes and yarn in her black satin hair

"Aunt Ruth, are you White?"

Slipped irresistibly frm my innocent lips

Her mouth did not answer

Her eyes did

Written on them the harsh decades she had served army men lunch at Fort McPherson pinching nickels to send me North to school She revelled in her race and never once seemed to wish to be anything else

Aunt Ruth won't be there on Tuesday

The journey's way too long

The air too frigid

She won't see a beautiful Brown man become what she always knew was possible the reason she sacrificed a big life to feed hungry men and hope for a small retirement check

But we'll be there

You'll be there, right?

He'll be there

Carrying all our dreams in his hands

Pride in his eyes

I hope he waves at the children and the old ones like my Aunt Ruth whose faith and dreams made this moment ours.

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