My Right-Hand Man
– after Lin-Manuel Miranda
By Shannon Frost Greenstein
October 15, 2023
October 15, 2023
Can I be real a second?/For just a millisecond?/Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second? – Miranda, L. (2015) “Right Hand Man.” Hamilton: An American Musical.
In the mid-2010s,
I listened to nothing but Hamilton for a solid two years.
Being a theatre family –
former thespians in a former life, dodging jocks and creating art –
with Lin-Manuel Miranda the Shakespeare of our time,
I delivered a theatre baby in 2015
and proceeded to ambush him with An American Musical.
I am not ashamed to admit
the dreams I had for this child;
Lin Miranda would sing My Shot as we drove in the car,
and I would be looking forward to the day
when my son could take Hamilton’s lyrics
and I would be the Marquis de Lafayette.
When the autism diagnosis came in 2017,
I abandoned that fantasy
and focused on loving the nonverbal light of my life
with every ounce of my being.
I covered Hamilton’s and Lafayette’s lyrics myself,
and reframed my expectations for the future.
Now it is 2023,
and we keep listening to Hamilton
at my autistic son’s behest.
And these days, as I drive in the car
with my chatterbox of a child
rapping along with General Washington,
I feel my dreams from so many years ago
starting to resurrect from the grave.
Then he tells me
apropos of nothing
to rise up;
and as I sing back
precisely on cue
that I’m gonna need a right-hand man,
I suddenly realize
I already have one.
Shannon Frost Greenstein (she/her) resides in Philadelphia with her children and soulmate. She is a former Ph.D. candidate in Continental Philosophy and a multi-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Shannon is the author of “Pray for Us Sinners” and “These Are a Few of My Least Favorite Things,” two full-length collections of fiction and poetry, respectively. She was recently a finalist for the 2023 Ohio State University Press Journal Non/Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Pithead Chapel, Bending Genres, Parentheses Journal, and elsewhere. Follow Shannon at shannonfrostgreenstein.com or on Twitter at @ShannonFrostGre. Insta: @zarathustra_speaks