In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

Dearly Beloved

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I’m leaving you soon, a matter of hours,

And before I do, I want you to know that I don’t leave without trepidation.

I’m not one to walk out.
 

Stand and face–even when the blackest eyes pierce my throat–

That’s been my method, fearless.

No doubt I’m getting older, less reliant on speed and jaw.
 

Yet, my resolve stands taller, wider, less compromised 

By shaky passion and toppling ardor.

I know what’s right for me and mine.
 

Perhaps the children have made it so, the will,

The mighty outrage and outpour of righteous indignation,

It’s no mere whim or fashion.
 

I have roots, here in this land, on the soil of my mother.

But they grow wherever my feet touch down, 

When blossom and wither beach.
 

My return, though certain, may not be.

I once traveled far, jungled inside, canopied under

The emergent layer that cocooned and cut me, culled flight.
 

And I never returned, even as surely as my sandals scraped sand,

The water’s edge of me, the tidal flow of drifting ear deep in water,

Listening to Gods and men groan secrets unheard.
 

I left then, returned, leaving my image behind me, left to howlers,

Lemurs, quetzals and Monteverde capuchin, who held my breath

In their seams, and still do.
 

I never came back, and now it’s winter, the summer of then passed,

To retrieve the lost faces, shed skin, the chameleon dreamed,

I’ll need to travel far from you, leave your bigotry and bile.
 

And when my body drifts inside again, your walls, your fever,

Only vespers’ dusk and smokey dawn, crust of the ague, remains

That travel torn, release us from hate’s grip, my form and fold united.
 

I will be new, and you will too, when I slip once more inside your border,

Hear the errant’s disbelieving, horrified roar, the be-trodden masses.

I’ll be ready then, to stand erect, balanced, both arms ready.
 

I hope to say farewell to closed palms, only to be welcomed

In a week or lifetime or two, to open gates, walkways to settle-in wicker

Chairs to my rest, porch to our swings, quieted storms’ memory.
 

I want you, my beloved, healed and hallowed, churched Christly,

Only the love, only the forgiveness, only the compassion, only the humble,

To fight, to triumph’s return, you, my lover, once more mi patria–free.

 

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