Brave Souls

Not long ago
were the days of the Divide
of unconscionable prejudice
and senseless hate.

There were but a few Brave Souls
in the crowd of the contained and the fearful.
They knew it wasn't just or right or fair
and they stood up.

They faced nooses, fires, guns,
pure, unadulterated hate,
danger and humiliation.
And they felt the burn--
they felt it.

And The Others, they cursed them
under their breath, a sharp dirty whisper.
And they cursed them
through the T.V., outraged at such discord.
And they cursed them
face to face
loud and angry,
muttering a demoralizing, dehumanizing, disgusting two-syllable word.
They burned books,
they passed laws,
and they swore
things would be kept
clean, tidy, separate
the way it should be.
And they said, not today, not tomorrow--
not ever.

But The Brave Souls, they kept climbing.
And they shouted and marched and screamed for change
and soon the whole world could hear them

and tomorrow came.

That day they kissed their children
and cheered.
They dropped their kids at school
among the light-skinned and the dark,
and they reveled in their victory.

But they still remember.

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