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Poetry

For Juan Montealegre

Rachel Kann

we are those for whom life is complicated
those for whom life slips and flops sloppily
when we attempt to shove
it into pretty little boxes

and though we don't follow a prescribed recipe
for traditional definitions of family,
our bonds are stronger than any
state sanctioned wedding ceremony

blood brothers
blood sisters
we reside in the deepest tangle of
uncharted territory
brave survivors
unwilling to cower behind labels
like victimized
or marginalized

hands steadied on machetes,
we forage ahead
hearts full of faith,
determination,
and our own brand of sanctity

we operate as best we can,
guess at the path,
use trust as our compass

because love doesn't just blossom
in perfectly manicured gardens
that lie
behind white picket fences

it rises
out of this treacherous rainforest
like bathhouse steam
two eyes beaming
at two eyes gleaming
with precious pre-destiny

and when the rest of the
narrow world slips away
we are marching,

heads held high,
through the concrete jungle
to a haven on earth

where one pure soul
wraps their artist's hand
around paintbrush
dips into crimson
and covers the walls
in shades of fierce
shades of robust
and tender
and fantastic

just because

because it is beautiful
and it is right

just to say:
            lover,
            let me wrap you in rainbows
            let me show you
            how you change my world from
            shades of grey to technicolor
            twilight

            let me make my mark
            and make it known
            you are safe here

            let me fall backwards through it
            and then take great pains to protect you
            from any suffering
            even if it means
            tripling mine

            let us nurse each other
            through the strangest
            of circumstance

            because love like this
            lasts beyond the petty grind of
            human life

            transcends
            these mortal coils
            we wrapped ourselves in
            when we chose to take the risk
            of birth

            of entering into this earthly existence

            made worth it by your kindred spirit
            making mirrors
            to show me for the first time
            i am beautiful
            in your eyes

born helpless
and baby-vulnerable

born to walk through this carnival
obstacle course
which leads, always, to the
outer reaches of
terra incognita

infinite brave,
we believe

and when these
fleshly encasements
sputter out around us
we know that our essence remains

and that love,
love like this
never untethers
our souls intertwined
from now until next

 

            love, you are one beautiful hand
            grasping the glistening filament
            that connects
            that we will ever-weave together
            with fingers
            steady and
            patient and
            sure and
            now, if i am to be helium-filled,
            a balloon ever-rising,

            not chained and straining upwards,
            simply ascending,

            then you, not cramped and gripped
            simply let the supernatural thread
            unspool from your palm

            and that
            becomes a bridge between us
            that grows in physical distance,
            but never dwindles or weakens
            in its middle

            and only in due time,
            you will know
            and you will
            look down
            at your open hand
            and see that this bridge
            has reformed into ladder

            and when you are ready,
            look up,
            look up,
            and see

            see my hand
            reaching
            to receive you

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