to the discouraged gentleman

the number of signatures
on that sheet of paper
on that clipboard in your hands
grows and grows,

the white space fills
with scrawls of names
of people you may never
meet again, people who
may forget they left
their names on that
sheet of paper hours
after signing, people who
may go about their
lives after signing
exactly as they
went about it before

it is discouraging,
disquieting, i know,
that your breath and
these signatures seem
so small and so far from
the great change you
want to see

but even the tallest
redwoods started out
as tiny seeds, as almost
nothing, as two small
leaves poking up from
the forest floor

yes, there are many that do
not make it, many that
never make it past the
first layer of debris, that
never push through the all dead
leaves and rotting branches,
that never get enough light
and wither away

but there are many
that do make it–the
forests are proof

you, holding that clipboard,
covering sheets of white
paper with black and blue

you, telling those stories,
making it known that
there’s work to be done
and there are people doing it

you, singing those songs,
calloused fingers strumming
tunes that tell us to
keep moving

you worry that all of it
means nothing and that
the detritus will never
stop smothering us and
we’ll never make it to
the top where the light
shines golden

but you are the not
the seed, you are not the tree,

the tree is peace
the tree is justice
the tree is love

you are the light
inviting that tree
to keep growing

so you

have to keep going.

(we are all learning
all teaching each other
to become suns )

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