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These days,
so antiseptic, so painfully ordinary that
pain can be pulverized and put
in accurate dosages inside capsules,
to be taken on schedule and
only when prescribed,
got me looking at my scars
and never let me forget how scarred I am,
that the slapping and jostling of reality
have left calluses on the face of my faith,
that my heart has undergone too many
freeze-thaw cycles that it taught itself
to be made of metal in order not to crack,
that my eyes are trained
to doubt everything they see.

I’d say nothing is wrong with this
if it weren’t for you. Last of your kind,
you live by the reasons why I fought
so hard, so long to not give up my
body’s innate knowledge of how
to press itself against forever.
You lay me on top of the sunset
on afternoons where the assemblage of
buildings on Paseo de Roxas can’t think
of a better way to define the skyline.
At night,
when everybody else is putting in overtime,
you part the curtains and slip into my dreams
so you can point out the poetry
growing wild at my feet, in case
I am too busy walking to notice.

Against the throng’s artificial direction
crowding the bus stops like mindless robots
at 5:35, rushing to their beds so they could
wake up and do it all again tomorrow,
their purpose reduced to denominations of
deadline and bills and brand names,
I will walk alone and make my way back
to softness, to emotional availability,
to the music of the sun, to love.

For you I will be that woman again.
For you I will kill the spiral.
For you I will forget that I am tired and
remember that there is life outside this city.
For you I will go the distance and tend to
my lonely and neglected planet,
cry old tears that have hardened by age, and
give up my sharp edges in exchange for closure.
For you I will be less vigilant
in weeding out the saplings of the baobabs
just so I could save the roses.
For you I will believe.

See you at our spot in the desert.
Under the star.

“Chicago Engagement Photos at North Avenue Beach”
by photographer Ben Pancoast