Seven inner-city seventh graders–

constituents of an educational system

struggling to maintain a tenuous grasp

on teachers, funds and hope–

are charged with building the tallest tower possible

out of the flimsiest scraps imaginable:

paper, straws and pipe cleaners–

the kinds of materials one might reasonably expect

to buckle under pressure.

Though the supervising adults

murmur words of caution–

advocating a careful, conservative approach–

the youth set their sights

on a loftier goal,

taking as their model

the highest-rising edifice

that scrapes the sky

above their corner of the world:

the U.S. Bank building

in downtown Los Angeles.

In a flurry of breathless ambition,

they set to work,

adhering components to one another

with tape and sheer will power

and contriving an impressive something

out of nothing–

proving that a structure is as strong

as the faith of its builders

in their ability to create.

from Another's Treasure © 2014