Ghosts of Our Fathers

Written by: Celeste Butler-Mendez

The ground, a glassy vermillion,
is stained by sacrifices;
humble offerings for the cause
before catching up to decency and laws.   

Dead and buried they are. 
Their dusty clouds of silence,
once kept in musty jars,
move like shadows across time.
Their voices, long retired to heaven,
speak now in whispers
that we have longed to hear.

To the left, a grandfather
hushing us with winds across the lips. 
To the right, another
his grandmother's mother
dethroned queen in slave crown, 
hollowed, she echoes centuries down 

and says:

"The slayer, the slain 
one keeper, one chain,
the spoils of our labor,  as salt liquids streamed,
have poured into bricks with hope and a dream.
Though callous encumbered, beaten and worn,
we toiled to the day that freedom was born. 
The times were like wind, familiar yet strange
blowing through ages but destined to change.
When heavy day's over, when heavy day's done
the chasm between two will close into one."

Such voices of wisdom heard through our cries
are steady and strong, are steadfast and wise
hopeful their children will pave a new way
beneath a new dawn, beneath a new day  
so ghosts of our fathers can rest now at last
knowing our future has withstood their past.