The Soul of A City

By Idris James

The soul of a city is not its towers,
manicured or gray,
they are just as skeletons, encasing,
not releasing life.

Nor is it the cherry blossoms,
even if they sweep the park
with candy flames that photographers dine on.

And that shining cathedral, like an unfallen tear
held over the cars and high schoolers,
is not more blessed than the soul of a city.

Because the root is deep, and quenched
with the howls of the past,
the moon over the shattered windows
and the unlocked hands.

The home raised on the forgotten street,
where children are as honeybees
seeking nectar in a grail of blood.

Idris James is an English teacher at the Newark School of Fashion and Design who lives in the North Ward.