The house was built,
Brick by brick, pane by pane,
Initially withstanding winds,
The force of a hurricane.
But over time, the faults are found
As storm after storm
Assails, the craftsmanship outdated,
In need of reform.
The windows break, one by one,
Under the weight of wrongs, the structure strains,
Until one day fire catches,
And only the foundation of good intentions remains.
While easiest would be to walk,
To abandon, moving on to rebuild,
The value is seen by those who have called it
Home, desires to be fulfilled.
Remembering the mistakes,
Maintaining the hope of freedom,
Hand in hand, we work,
Entering a new season.
The work is not complete until
The walls protect all who live there,
No exceptions. Abandonment of all
A job led by all, not by one,
We work long days turn long nights.
The creation of our hands
Proving more than surface level acknowledgment of rights.
The past is not buried
What we have transformed
Before our eyes.
Copyright © 2021 Hallie Knight. Used with permission of the author. Published in Poem-a-Day on January 23, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.