The Shadow

This inviting playground, beckoning innocent children, stands as a beacon of hope; the Edmund Pettus Bridge in the background.

Selma, AL 

it’s been a myriad moonrises,
yet seems like just one
shadow has passed since
loved ones were
among those who
hoped and endured,
demanded peace,
fearing their fate
as evil’s heinous
fang forced its venom deeply
into tender flesh of those
who dared to
be black and yet
cross a bridge

once sole passage
to halls of power,
now an icon,
to this day bearing
on its forehead sinister
reminder of one whose
unholy memory, unmistakably
emblazoned on steel –
…………like branded contempt,
…………stark shadow of hatred –
hangs suspended over a nation
as bodies once hung,
brazenly suspended from limbs.

where shall we go?
wide swaths of citizenry
denying its culpability,
divided, and still one

vision of color, light
and dark, in the shadow of
bloody reminder,
now fresh with the vibrancy
of blue skies and laughter –
wee carriers of possibility,
no longer destined to
rage with hatred,
offered new fire to ignite
flame of justice and mercy in
exchange for brutality
and barbarism.

here is the breath of hope

shadows of bygone years
still poignant

where the brave once walked.


© Julia Penner-Zook, 2017
Photo Credit: © Stacey L. Rhoades. Used with permission.

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