My Daughter Continues To Be Annoyed By George Washington by Joseph Mills

A plaque on the Salem Tavern says,GeorgeWashingtonSleptHere-610x343

“George Washington slept here.”

It’s true, it’s well documented,

and my daughter doesn’t care.

She’s not a fan.  She hasn’t been

since she was six and learned

how Washington freed his slaves

on his deathbed.  He waited

she said with disappointment

until he didn’t need them

and they were probably too old

to enjoy their freedom then.

Later, looking at her allowance,

she insisted, Washington

shouldn’t even be on the dollar.

When I offered to keep the money,

I saw the struggle, the realization

that this wasn’t how it should be,

but how it is.  These symbols

are the ones we live with.

No, she said, I’ll take it,

reaching for the bills

and sensing as she did so

that she had been forced

to participate in something

under the guise of choice.

And now, at the Tavern,

where the first President walked,

hallowed ground for many,

she reads the sign out loud,

George Washington slept here.”

and asks, “Where did his slaves sleep?”

 

Enter the Queen with her hair about her ears Author PicA faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Joseph Mills holds an endowed chair, the Susan Burress Wall Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities. He has published four collections of poetry with Press 53. His fifth collection, This Miraculous Turning, will be released in September 2014. More information is available on his website and on his blog.

Germ Magazine guest author
… is a contributing guest author for Germ, which means the following criteria (and then some) have been met: possessor of a fresh, original voice; creator of fresh, original content; genius storyteller; superlative speller; fantastic dancer; expert joke teller; handy with a toolbox; brilliant at parties; loves us as much as we love them.

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