“The Hill We Climb,” a performance poem by Amanda Gorman

If Only

... there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it.
                                                 -- Amanda Gordon

If only we could eliminate pessimism 
patriotism patriarchy power 

that perverts justice and breaks
morality empathy and thrives on

despair if only we could punish
these pusillanimous pricks self-

appointed arbiters of fate apex 
predators devouring the poor who

fill prisons with slaves stuff 
ballots with poison politics if 

only we could redraw the fucked up
districts and make them whole 

again if only we could learn to stop 
using terror to stop terror to stop 

waving whiteness as a flag to force 
everyone "other" to surrender if only 

our bodies were our bodies and not 
the new frontier waiting for manifest

destiny holy invasion if only we didn't
worship money if only the default 

greeting on the street was hello
I love you instead of die die die

Suggested soundtrack: the wind through an American flag.