In the Deep of the City

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I know children in the deep
of the city who grow where they can
like chicory squeezing up
between the sidewalk cracks
in front of abandoned stores
where spray-painted graffiti announces
"Thuggin for life" one day and proclaims
"huggin for life" the next.

I know children in the drought
of the city who squat
like street musicians in church doorways
and call out to strangers
to watch their show—
where they leap up in the air,
flip mid-jump and land on their feet
like cats in the grass.

And I know children in the dust
of the city who wait for a word of applause
like weeds wilted from the heat
waiting for a drink
to quench their thirst
where roots hold their ground—
so they can grow, huggin for life
like chicory after a summer rain.

About the Author

Sylvia R. Cooper is a writer and retired teacher. For almost 20 years she directed a tutoring program at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Mich. This poem appears in her book A Writer’s Vine (Chapbook Press, 2015). Used by permission

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