‘For Us,’ composed and read by Philadelphia’s youth poet laureate

    Listen
     (<a href='http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-112649735/stock-photo-night-sky-with-trees.html'>Night sky image</a> courtesy of Shutterstock.com)

    (Night sky image courtesy of Shutterstock.com)

    I want to learn how to build with an axe
    how to tear the blisters harboring splinters in my hands
    for the love of something new
    like a home
    but I’ve only ever learned how to tear things down in the name of hope
    in the name of love someone show me how to dance
    to the songs life sings
    to the seconds that the hymns from the trees
    hum the symphonies flapping
    inside of humming birds’ wings
    this is for the ones who know how badly it hurts
    to hear the sounds of how freedom really rings
    but cast their bells loud enough
    to play songs with the stars
    but still dance at the speed of light because
    if you’ve ever gazed you know that we all stare at a sky full of ghosts
    this is for love becoming hope
    For the soldiers who aim high
    hoping to spare their country a
    death sentence of one thousand years to life
    when the sting of shotgun shells becomes too heavy
    for the mothers who pick them up
    when they hear the pounding of their sons’
    and daughters’ chests against
    ground because her ears have always been made of
    stethoscopes
    her chest a pillow
    her lap a prayer bed where the water is full of sin
    but ready to turn to
    wine thick and full of love on our bad days
    this is for our bad days
    for seeing how beautiful
    a storm can be
    How god can crack the sky with lightning
    and stitch it back together with the rolls in his voice
    let’s call that thunder
    let’s call him clockmaker
    for every hour that the
    earth spends ticking on its axis telling
    the tales
    we cried to
    laughed to together
    this is for loving contradiction
    for the skeptic atheist clutching a
    bible in hopes that paradise is real
    for holding hands with women in bloody burkas
    in the name of living
    this is for living
    for the days we laugh at the sun
    and cry in the rain
    this is for us
    this is for love.

    Soledad Alfaro-Allah, of Mt. Airy, is Philadelphia’s newest youth poet laureate. During her tenure, she will work with Philadelphia poet laureate Frank Sherlock. She will spend the summer studying for the SAT and working on her poetry. She hopes to become a neurosurgeon.

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