H. A. Byrd

In future times

In future times
they will refer to us as primitives
and our sorrows, the mourning of our dead
will seem sad to them
in the way that injustice in our ancient world,
the cruel modes of entertainment,
the needless bloody wars
(for aren’t all wars needless?)
seem sad, but distant, to us.
We are better than that now.
Our depravity of thinking that one color, one type
resides above or below another on the scales of entitlement
or enlightenment
will seem odd.
And they will wonder how anyone could
embrace that narrative.
Will gullible rabble
ever be a thing of the past?
I hope so.
In future times may they look back on
our society of manipulators and followers
with a romantic tone, the stuff of stories,
Today, because of fools,
I watched a second son graduate through online ceremony from his college.
A beautiful ritual,
this triumphant multimedia project
gave the grads the best experience possible.
Honored and wise people of differing
backgrounds, genders, races, ages, and abilities
suggested that we recognize the power of
our losses
through the understanding of grief as the advancement of love for life and for their school.
They told the students to carry forward what has been learned during this time of hardship
and use their special knowledge,
gained in these traumatic years,
to help find real justice for all and healing for our world.
It was a memorable ceremony
and as a mother I am filled with joy and pride
but also sorrow for what my son and his fellows have been through
and because
I can’t hug him.

“The opposite of poverty is justice.”

—University of Michigan commencement speaker Bryan Stevenson, human rights leader.

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Copyright © 2020 Harriet Arden Byrd