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Subtle, Shifting Symmetry, by Merida 

Her smile mirrors my emotion

when I share my moments of joy

that are mile markers in my struggle.

She travels with me in and

out of the tunnels where the light

gets swallowed up for moments

at a time,

but she trusts the journey with me.

Her eyes hold me steady when

I am fighting back the emotion.

“I’m going to stop you right there,”

she says. And I let her. I thank her because

I was headed downhill with no

brakes and her nimble fingers

like a conductor (or a magician)

solve me once again.

I keep the love just outside me.

In my pocket like a worry stone

warmed by the flesh of my thigh.

I can’t let the love inside me.

Not all the way.

It’s not that I don’t want to.

It’s not that I can’t.

I don’t trust my love right now.

She is helping me to put

the pieces back together.

She is painting a picture where

I am not the broken girl.

I am the masterpiece in progress,

and when she looks at me with her

elongated neck slightly tilting

to reveal the soft but angled

profile of her nose  

I am met by the receptacles of my pain.

Caribbean irises.    

I don’t feel scrutinized.

I don’t feel patronized.

I am seen, and I tell myself

it is her job to see me that way.

It is her job to hold her mouth

with her pink lips gently

pursed before they open softly

like the bud of a flower ready to

greet the morning sky.

Her eyes well up just enough

so that I know my pain

has a safe place with her.

All the while I am wishing

the hour could hold more

minutes, but also craving

our goodbye because aside

from this weekly exchange I

look forward to

one long warm hug from her.  

I need it more than I should,

and each week I hold on

just a little longer.

But the hug must always end.

Maybe cliches are meant

for the word lovers.

Sapphic dancers twirling to

the tribal beat of suggestion.

She is my healer, and

mentally I must

keep her in this role.   

The love goes back into

my pocket.

We exchange smiles and

goodbyes, and I take

sturdier steps back out

into the elements of my reality.

She is filling the part of me

that knows I need to heal

more than I need to love.

But love her I do.

Enough to only tell her with

my eyes.

Enough to push myself

through the hard things,

and I bring my triumphs

back like trophies.

So I can tell her.

So she can smile.

So we can laugh at the mess

of the mortal blunders that

cleanse us for a blissful life.

So we can hold a moment

of silence for the

woman emerging from the ashes

like Aphrodite with no arms,

and the image keeps me honest.

Wherever this love inside me

is meant to go I must heal

enough to have two sturdy

arms again.

To hold. To love. To begin anew. 

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