If someone should ask you for your invite --

your ticket, your license, your ID --

if someone should seek a warrant for your striving

in this, the home we made free,

point to the Rockies, majestic in snow,

to the blue-misted Appalachian peaks;

signal the prairies, rustling as they glow

with corn and soybean and golden wheat;

point to the Mississippi, surging south,

to the Missouri, Colorado and Rio Grande --

black, brown and white waters frothing at the mouth

to knit and wash and baptize our lush land --

tell them: We belong to the Golden Gate

our arms stretched wide, our yearnings raw;

to Brooklyn and New Orleans where everyone met

to build a rep, parade some steps and Mardi Gras;

to mesas burning like embers at sunset;

our passions dancing in the sheen;

to Ellis Island, our feet and eyes all wet

in the reflection of Lady Liberty's green.

We belong to those faces on Rushmore

calm and calming as worried winds blow,

to tears that salted up a Wounded Knee

and blood that fertilized an Alamo,

to Old Faithful and sequoias with noble sap,

to every magnolia blossom in this jubilee;

we, laden vessels buoyant with hope

and tacking through herky-jerky seas,

we, blenders of the faraway accents

that bent our mothers' tongues,

we, risers through the broken strides

who kept our faith and our songs,

we belong to the peal of freedom

frozen in a Philadelphia bell,

to the cries of souls in the bowels of ships,

our longings dipped in ancient wells,

to leafy lanes and hard-rock streets --

chilling in Alaska, liming in the Keys;

to Texas hootenannies and California beaches,

and searchlights manifesting a Pacific breeze.

We belong to that shining city

that angels imagined glinting on a hill,

to the promise that in our father's house

many mansions are beckoning still;

to each other, in bosom and gratitude,

as we touch and break bread and kneel,

in each other's grace and beatitude,

in compact and covenant and commonweal;

to something providential, inexorable, resilient,

even when battered in streams, tell them:

We belong to some mighty rivers

bounding from a mountain of dreams.

Rohan Preston can be reached at 612-673-4390.