This poem is a spoken word duet and is formatted to reflect that in its written form: the left- and right-aligned stanzas are delivered by different speakers and center-aligned parts are delivered together, in unison.
looks like so many smiles and inside jokes,
so many presents and random notes
that it’s easy to forget how exactly love came to burn at the center -
Love, like the symbiosis of
the clownfish and the anemone,
protection in one hand and refuge in the other;
Like the hummingbird and the violet-speckled desert willow,
sharing sweetness and growing together to maturity;
Like the oxpecker and the rhinoceros:
She gets the ticks out of my hair.
She gives me food.
Love - of laughter is what started it for us,
the bones of what we were,
the first beams that held us together across the water,
a shaky construction as wobbly and as hopeful
as a baby’s first step.
Then we took this skeleton bridge and
strung its empty steel frame with
memories and understanding -
cold wet sidewalks in D.C.,
two of us huddled under one umbrella in the rain;
singing by the train tracks,
barefoot with summer grass kissing our ankles
writing poetry between classes,
curled up together on a little green couch -
each of these supporting the next until our bridge was strong enough
to bear the weight of our convictions and confessions,
our sorrows and our joy.
Now sometimes our thoughts run like the cables
between our bridge’s towers,
and stopping here,
running parallel the whole way.
I say “bird,” you think
“brid”, which is a
messed-up spelling we really like, similar to
our messed-up spelling of omg, which is
“mgo", which as we all know is the chemical formula for
Sometimes it works like that.
Other times it's all tangled yarn instead
and we have to patiently work the knotted strands apart,
remembering that each thread leads back to a different skein
but we're being knit together
by hands greater than ours,
and this is the cord that binds our souls,
the reason that we can say sisters,
a loyalty greater than any bond
even the most beloved memories could cultivate:
we, once walking with eyes and mouths full of death,
have been born into the same new identity.
Alive in Christ Jesus,
the sinner’s Savior and the sinner’s Friend.
So in the reality and vitality of this freedom,
there will be no pretense between us.
There will be no masquerade of whitewashed perfection.
I see the dark stains of sin that course through your veins
and you see mine, but we also know the complete cleansing
that has come to both of us.
Filthy and spotless all at once, together
we will slowly work
to chisel the dirt away, God's Spirit in our eyes
and His Word in our mouths.
Love, we know, is in that healing pain of iron against iron,
the insistent convergence of hearts that can manifest
in whispers or in cacophony,
that never gives up
no matter how it hurts to scrape the dullness from our edges
till we are the true strokes of a balanced knife,
the faithful wounds of a tapered arrowhead,
the clean, straight lines of a well-sharpened plow.
when the world strips away all that you have,
everything that is mine will be yours--
but it is His body and His wings that will be
your greatest protection and your refuge.
As we go through this life I will hold your hand tight
and pull you back when you seek to stray,
reminding you always of our destination even when the words
are old weariness upon your tired ears.
I will set my face east with you every day,
and we will run towards the risen Son,
shoulder to shoulder all the way.
On the mountains I will bottle the rays of morning light
that shake the forests with their glory,
and I'll carve the landscapes of our home into pebbles
that I'll drop in your pocket,
so when you go through the desert I'll make you drink
the memory of his faithfulness, and when it's too dark to see,
I'll make you grip those stones tight,
so that truth and hope are pressed against your palms
and you remember, and keep on, keep on,
our souls are knitted together in laughter, love,
and the blood of our perfect Savior,
so run with me until we reach that place where we belong,
where we’ll see His face and be satisfied,