Untitled – pen and ink
I live in a house that my hands didn’t build
and I walk down sidewalks that I didn’t pour
admiring trees that I didn’t plant
as I wait at a crosswalk that I didn’t paint.
I pass small shops whose signs are markers
of the dreams of someone that I’ve never met
and (perhaps) of capitalism’s crazed optimism
against all obvious odds.
In my neighborhood, small shops flower,
shimmer in sunlight, drop petals and die,
only to be replaced by others
a constant lifecycle of avarice and hope.
In your neighborhood, the wind blows through
the dried husks of businesses on withered stems,
peeling paint and dirty windows bearing mute testimony
of so many dreams abandoned.
But surely, they all still matter.
Every new sign, and layer of paint,
and shelves newly dusted and stacked
is one more strong person pushing back at the darkness,
staring level at hopelessness and shouting “stand back!”
Surely, each person whose sweat, breath and body
went into this visible sign of their hope
is a witness to wanting, to moving and acting
and believing in a world where even this matters.
As I live in this house that my hands didn’t build,
I think of the hands that did,
and the lives who marked time to build city streets,
and the ones who saw the tree when they planted the seed.
And I give thanks for every one of them
who was brave enough to believe
that the work of their hands was worth giving to others,
who created the world where I live.
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