this year we put our hands in the dirt and said goodbye to the things
that do not work for us anymore
we put on our glasses and rolled up our sleeves
and didn’t know if it meant anything so we walked into the water
we called our mothers
we said i love you but there is more
we packed everything into one suitcase
and put that suitcase in a boat and sailed that boat
to the end of the world
and there, with our hearts outside our body
we began the work that mattered
we cracked open oysters and came up empty,
we dug for gold
and in the midst of that muddy wasteland
we found that we are a survivor
we ate fears with a toothless mouth and eventually
our molars grew in to support this new bravery
we dreamed about courtyards and swords and sex,
our sweat mixed with the sea and made it easier to float
and carefully, painstakingly, with our newborn roots holding us to earth,
we found each day easier to endure than the last
we put flowers behind our ears
and sent letters to those who had chopped us off at the knees
we threw our captors off us
we made tea leaves of poison ivy and fed it to those without empathy
and then we stood tall and gold-stained
we began loving without horror
we put our hands over our hearts national anthem style,
and we said, together and separate and all at once and everywhere:
gentleness never comes without pain

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