Daylight

by Katy Shedlock

For fifty years
Ravenna Creek
was diverted
into the underground Seattle sewer line
until a group
of concerned citizens mobilized
to restore it
to let it once again
warm up in the sun
as it traveled
from Green Lake
to the sound.
The technical term
for this
is daylighting.
I am reading the sign
that the parks department
put up,
to teach me this,
it has been a long day,
I am tired
of wondering if I will ever
shine
with consistency
of my own
or if
I’ll only ever glimmer
when someone else
points a light down
into my darkness
and there
on a fucking parks department sign
is what salvation
sounds like to me.

There are streams
running through you
and maybe they have been
diverted
into slimy
underground pipes
but they are still there,
still coursing through
the veins of your soul
and you can, even now
daylight them.

It’s hard to do alone-
you need a coalition
a community of people who care
about the sound of your soul
gurgling
I keep trying to explain
what church should be
I hope it’s that

It will take time.
There will be resistance
Beware the mall developers
selling an easy
re-surface project
they’ll pave you over
and leave you dry
there are no
quick fixes
in the daylighting process
only digging
down
up
and out
until the ground
is kissed again
wet
sloppy
and alive
I know it’s hard sometimes
to feel the currents
within us
but listen
at the manhole covers
at the sealed up places
where you might climb down
into yourself
can’t you hear the splashing
down there?
I am tired of being
diverted
from channeling
the power in me,
it is strong enough
to grow trees!
Why would we
let all that potential go
down the drain?

The Ravenna Creek
is still underground
south of 55th street.
Like me,
it is only partially
daylighted.
But I am watching it
disappear into the darkness of the grate
and seeing
only the possibility
of glimmering in the sun
all the way
to the sea.

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