Cedar Waxwing

Let Milwaukee dress like a cedar waxwing,
elegant, subtle. Let her freeways become gardens,
and her gardens grow neighborhoods.

Soothe the wounds, the gunshot in the park,
the closing school, the vacant lot.

May the squash vines in Alice’s Gardens
wrap around her in comfort reminding us
that “we’re gonna be alright. Our people
thrive in adversity.”

Let Milwaukee be playful.
May her mulberries be knuckle-sucking good.
Let there be people walking dogs, band shells
full of notes, rappers and tap dancers, drums,
violins, flutes, piccolos, marching bands,
symphonies, czardas, and Fiddler on the Roof.

Let there be children in canoes, fishing in lagoons,
children with their parents, and picnic baskets.
                   On the lake front,
let there be kites and bicycles, t'ai chi, yoga,
and dancers with scarves wrapped around their bodies,
reaching up and around. Swirling their hips and arms.

Let her travel in a flock. Let the parks be the wings
                  that raise her up.
Raise her up.
Raise her up.

—Carolyn Vargo, Milwaukee