She Is So Fragile, This Figure, Set Here to Stand
A gift, inherited from a time when citizens
were blacklisted for belief, and neighbor, friend,
coworker called on to rat each other out,
a time when it was easy, tempting, and even
seemed sensible to fear and to despise.
Likewise, first restored as generations clashed,
arguing a war’s reason, a war’s cost,
arguing questions of civil rights, how far
they should extend, how far we would extend ourselves.
Those times, not unlike this time. Each era
takes its turn. And so we gather here,
thanks to the unpaid hours of volunteers,
the slow-earned pennies collected by children
in a local elementary school which will, this fall,
with all the other schools, be locked.
When we go home today, Liberty will remain
to occupy this park, holding her torch,
sustaining her puzzles and paradox:
how to be free and indivisible at once?
Let us be generous with each other.
Let us be of good cheer,
that future generations may tell us, as they
restore her yet again, that she eroded
only from the rain, and not from hate. Nor fear.