From the Menomonie Keep Families Together March

This from my friend Casey Green yesterday (with her permission).

how to move forward from here
saturday, june 30, 2018 3:03 p.m.

the weather was brutal-wet
oppressive-hot and disciplining
like it was sent to mock us or

maybe just to teach us~it is so 

hard to tell~there are invisible lines
everywhere these days~and even
the most learned among us fail to
fully know when begins~one boundary
from the next~it is a valid question now

when does ridiculous become dangerous
when does lawfulness become inhumane

the boy in front of me in the heat was no
more than six~i watched his sandals
they were on the wrong feet but
it did not keep him from moving
onward~leading a crowd three blocks
long~what he could become with time
and encouragement~i thought~and watched
him ask his patient mom how much
further there was to walk

behind me the Calabrese boy fell and the
leader before us with the backward sandals
stopped~the whole march waited while
the mom in yellow handed off her sign

Little Kids Need Parents-in ironic
demonstration~she scooped up her son

we were~all of us~alarmed by the crying and
when the mother’s soft speaking soothed
the broken skin~we all felt the comfort she
cast like it was the shade of a tree

to my right my own Jack sang out the bright
words~Bread and Butter~it is our secret promise
that when we break hands around a pillar
in our path~we always~will return to
each other~he must have come~just now to
a parking meter with his dad~his confidence
in that saying~his certitude in reunion
felt like hope~or privilege~or what is right
in this world~or maybe what it wrong~it
was the color of gold~and all it represents

i walked this morning because i didn’t quite know
what else to do~i walked beside my daughter and
as i walked i thought about Choctaw sons
with severed braids~Ghanaian queens with
children sold south~barbed wire camps for
Americans with Japanese roots~silver blankets
and chain link frames~and leaders that come to
listen with words of indifference on their back

i walked and maybe it made no difference~it will
not console a child in texas away from home or
bring about the reparations that we owe
but maybe i will call the phone numbers in my
pocket~maybe i interrupted the world with
compassion~or maybe i only eased my guilty mind
but maybe~it was~something~at least it hurt no one

it is~so hard~to figure these things out for sure
walking that fine sidewalk crack that runs through
staying informed and staying sane~the two are at
such odds~and spoken by those who can opt out
by looking the other way~the shame of it all

so you can see why~in the desert of discouragement
that has settled in my mind~grain by grain blown in
with each empathy eroded each civility dried to dust
you can see why that boy in front of me today
looked like an oasis of reason

there was no grey with him~no choice~no confusion
there was only~stopping~the entire group~for another
boy who was much like himself~a boy who had fallen
and needed to be carried~by someone who loves him

he knew what that boy needed even though
he didn’t know the boy because simply~most of us
need the very same things

understanding a stranger
is really as clear~as asking ourselves
what we would want for ourselves if we
were on their side of the fence

the boy stopped for one of~us~because there is
only~US~in his wide welcoming world~and once
he was sure that the boy with the scraped knee
was given what he would need to be able to keep up
he showed the group how we should move forward
one imperfect~including~intentional step at a time

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Published on

July 1, 2018

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