Advent Three

Kathryn Smith

There are plenty of places in our West Central neighborhood for Isaiah’s prophecy to take hold. Who are the captives? What devastations – “the devastations of many generations” – surround us? And what is our role in the transformation? I see it in efforts like Project HOPE and Riverfront Farms. After all, someone has to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. It might as well be us.

Advent Comes to the Dead End Street

The stairs lead nowhere: an empty lot, rubble

of a burned-down house left to rats and junkies.

This is the street the city paving crews forgot,

sidewalks strewn with rags and doll bones,

tattered remnants of indecipherable loss.

It’s the street where self-destruction

and survival look the same from the other side

of the river, neighborhood littered

with bad intentions, or no intention at all,

failed forgiveness, second chances squandered for want

of a bus pass, a wristwatch. It’s a neighborhood

waiting for someone to walk these barren spaces

and see sunflowers sprouting where the kids

shoot up. The scars of arson erased by zucchini’s

tenacious blooming. A garden rising from ashes.

And once it’s planted, there’s no keeping it down.

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