I was fifteen
in a small Alabama town
when I first heard your name
John Lewis, then
Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Their clubs cracked your bones.
Their tear gas clogged your lungs.
An iron pipe almost ended your life.
But you stood up.
You walked on
for fifty years plus more,
modeling resilience, leaving a trail of hope.
When you died,
the earth slowed.
The sun dimmed
The air thinned.
The world would never be the same.
Full smile, baritone voice.
But we are not alone.
You left us with your words
a way to persevere.
“Walk with the wind, brothers and sisters,
and let the spirit of peace and the power
of everlasting love be your guide.”
Chella Courington is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear in anthologies and journals including SmokeLong Quarterly and New World Writing. Her lyrical, flash novella, Adele and Tom: The Portrait of a Marriage (Breaking Rules Publishing), is featured at Vancouver Flash Fiction. A 2020 Pushcart and Best Small Fictions Nominee, Courington (she/her) lives in California.