& might very well remain that way,
   despite the best attempts
of our present overlord to resurrect

him without a single living
   black mother’s permission.
If he should come, & be recognized

as anything other than the muted whisper
   of a body interred, I wish his return
as some strange & ungovernable terror,

a ghost story turned live & direct ectoplasm
   without warning: Frederick in the White
House kitchens, Frederick in the faucets,

Frederick posted up at every corner
   of the Oval office, shredding documents
invisibly, a blade in each of his eighteen

laser hands. Go off, his more radical undead
   colleagues will exclaim. You better tell that man
to keep your name out his mouth.
But Frederick

Douglass doesn’t say a thing. Not yet.
   He’s waiting for you & me, my grandmother
says. Frederick Douglass is irrevocably dead,

& refuses to ride until we are ready. Until
   our prayers are knives or sheets of flame:
Hear us, O Beloved, Fugitive Saint: Defer

the rain. Grant us the strength of a rage
   we can barely fathom. Make us
brave as the flock in the fist

of a storm. Unmoor every melody
   they built from our screams. Steady
our dreams. Keep us warm.