Hope is in the listening

January 12, 2020

2020 Charleston Mayoral Inauguration poem. Read about it here.

City as sorcerer and storyteller, sharp-eyed
observant, holy grandmother. She’s survived 350 years

because the longevity of the Lowcountry requires
a special kind of magic. Today, we are witnesses

to that witchcraft. Citizens of its charm. Today,
she is the voice connecting her family: The tourist

and tour guide, cradling history in their arms
like a crying infant. The LGBTQ+ community,

joyous and resilient in the shadow of hate crimes.
Plantation workers sending one-way postcards

to ghosts. Black poets, the great interpreters
of Southern truth. The farmer, hand delivering

homegrown sunshine. The mayor, whose job is to
see hope through floods and watered-down politics.

Charleston’s story should be defined by
this diversity. The sounds of promise and protest.

She may be old, but her best days are ahead.
Whatever challenges await, we will face them together

because she hears us, people of change.
She hears us.