She takes her hands, worn by time, and places them around my back

They rest on my body like a promise

They swear to catch me, knowing how readily I fall

Her hands, soft like cotton, teach mine how to pray

Tells me of God, and of hope

It starts with love, and that’s where it ends

Those are lessons she found infinite ways of sharing

I’ve only cried in front of her once

Even then, her hands, full of space for my cheeks and my sins

She held my sins like they were flowers, with purple petals

Planted them in a garden so they were buried

Under trees, and all the good decisions I made

After the sadness, she taught me how to dance

And sing, and even the songs I can’t remember all the words to

Ring in my ears like a symphony of joy

I was always younger around her than I was

And older than I felt

She said I could do anything

And she meant it

Didn’t live long enough to see me do too much

But even today her words fall on my heartstrings like the bow of violin

They make music even her God has to stop and listen to

She had a way of making even a strong man fall head over heels

And I wasn’t too strong so I loved her with fervor and a depth

I’m still crawling out of the pit I dug my love into

My last song was a hymn and I sang it through tears she never saw me cry a 2nd time

I held her, even in her last breaths I held her and promised to love her even after she left

And a week later she left, never looked back, and never said I’m sorry

She was sick, and she couldn’t say much of anything in the end

But thank God our memories hold onto promises, harder than our hands do

There hasn’t been another woman I loved like that

Hasn’t been another woman who loved me like that

We spoke in songs and in dance, we laughed like we never let the sadness win

And for about 19 years she was the most important gift God ever saw fit to give me

I love her just the same

I sometimes forget her face, and her hands, and her voice, and her dance, and our songs

But most nights I dream about our long talks and hopeful prayers and all the fire we claimed into our family line, like how we believed in who we were and what we could be

She said everyone was a champion, even the cousins in jail, and father’s who forgot about us, and the mother’s who got a little too angry a little to often

Everyone had a story

Everyone had a name and a face and reason they should be loved

She just loved.  Made suffering look like a prayer.

Made hope even in darkness,

Look possible.

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