“You Are My People, and I Am Yours”: Everyday Magic, Day 550

I’ve been at Brave Voice, the retreat Kelley Hunt and I lead in the Flint Hills each spring, and wanted to share a poem I wrote for a close, old friend. In honor of all our close, old friends as well as our close, new friends too!

You Are My People, and I Am Yours

It started long ago. It started just now.

Subtract a week, a year, a decade, and it makes no difference.

When we swam in the reservoir late morning, mid summer,

the chill of the water tripping our young voices into song.

When I failed the big test, when you lost the job, when we drove

all over Laramie hunting for your next home, when I floated in

your Topeka bathtub for hours to make the contractions bearable,

when we cried on the phone after your miscarriage.

Through our dying and dead fathers, the loves gone bad,

or so good that our broken hearts shattered to reform themselves,

through roadtrips blasting Tracy Chapman, through the worst fight

during a graupel blizzard in the tiny tent on the Continental Divide

before descending for the ultimate burrito, we were still each other’s.

When we walked along the river trail in our 50s or across the prairie

in our 20s, when you showed me the sunburst faces of the Orthodox icons

and I told you the meaning of the word “mensch,” when we cried together,

you from a porch in New Mexico, me from a porch in Colorado

while your mother’s breathing slowed to nothing, when you gave up

and dissolved your deepest wishes into prayers, when I gave birth again

while you snapped the shutter of your camera, when we puzzled apart

every tangle with our families of origin, when we filled your rose-tellised

deck with family to celebrate my son’s college graduation, and all

the times we picked wild strawberries in the rain before singing

“Night Fall on the Prairie,” you are my people, and I am yours.

Now why wouldn’t you believe that you’ve always lived in the house of love?

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