Stardust And Centuries

By Alberto Ríos

As things turn out, as a man,
I am half woman on my mother’s side.

I am as well all the women
Before her, the women who were me before me –

My grandmothers, and their mothers –
We are all women, and finally we are all

Men, but more than that, we are
What the best of us does.

Today, let us all count ourselves worthy,
Let us number ourselves as so many

Standing, not sitting, courage-filled and ready
To move onto the firm ground of forward,

To speak our minds every time
Our voices need to be heard.

We are made of stardust and centuries,
Of gills and wings both.

We fly and we swim and we think.
We move through, over, and around the fierce

Horde of real and imaginary animals that stop us.
We are big world-solvers and little thread-pullers,

Partners to immense ideas quietly built on
The love we had for the smell of clay in second grade.

We fly and we swim and we think – and we lead.
We do it all. We always have.