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Youth Programs

A Different Kind of Cathedral by Melissa Wood and Harriet Tubman

A Different Kind of Cathedral
by Melissa Wood and Harriet Tubman from Jefferson High School
Published in the 2007-2008 WITS Anthology I Once Was Young and Strong

Walk, walk, walk
It’s the only way
No planes, trains, or cars
Up the street
And up again
Across the busy street,
You’re practically there
Expanding, expanding
The blacktop
Opens up to you
Like a camouflaged flower.
You’ll know you’re there when you can smell
the overhanging pine trees and the scattered bark chips.
Follow the ancient, faded white lines,
Painted when the place had a different sort of charm.
Go up the slanted hill
Now get on your skateboard, you did bring it with you?
All you can hear for now is the scraping of little wheels on concrete.
But in the distance are birds singing and kids living little lives far away and hoping that the impossible just takes a bit more time,
Till the sun goes down.
You have to be there with the sun
Just the right time
When the wind comes in
Cool, fresh air that smells like the sea
The car exhaust will waft through just a little
But I almost know you won’t care.
From where you stand
You can see the trees in the park next door
You know, the ones you named in elementary school.
The twin trees and then there was big mama.
It’s almost time to leave.
Do you remember how to get home?
I’ll never forget.
All you can hear is silence now
And your parents are getting ready to wonder
When the silence starts to get a bit too loud
Taste the dusty skies
One last time
And follow the swirling sun
Skate down the hill
Down from one thing sacred
And back to where you came from.

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