MLK, JR., MEMORIAL, SAN FRANCISCO
No. No, we are not satisfied, and we will not be
satisfied until “justice flows down like a river,
and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963
Read it and weep, I think, a catch in my throat,
weeping a little. You can do that by this fountain,
midday, midweek, just yourself and the rushing waters
dashing into a pool of sculpted granite rocks,
arranged to invoke the artless, ordered chaos
of boulders in a stream bed, the centuries
of water and gravity composing the earth’s
meditation on time and determination.
In the pool, a scattering of bright pennies,
each a round wish for something silent
and self-contained. Even among them
I suppose a few prayers for justice
and righteousness, love between brothers
and sisters, peace on earth, goodwill
toward men. But most less lofty: a promotion,
a new job, a night of good sex, deliverance
of that windfall from a departed uncle, balm
for a broken life. A long list to precede justice.
always a long time coming. And righteousness:
the precious distillation of a life well lived,
the anonymous character of the humble,
and the giving, and the strong. At my back,
while I pine for imponderables, a red-tail hawk
swoops down, pierces the heart
of an unsuspecting pigeon, and flies off
to dismember lunch in silence.
About the Author
Will Walker received his bachelor’s degree in English history and literature from Harvard College. He has attended numerous writing workshops with Marie Howe, Thea Sullivan, Gail Mazur, Robert Pinsky, Alan Shapiro, and Mark Doty. Walker was also an editor of the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal.
When not putting pen to paper, he enjoys placing bow on string and playing the cello. Walker and his wife spend their summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts.