I do not understand how to look at you now
And see a woman. The length of hair and
Skirt and stress bubbling up behind
Soft blue eye. Seated at a desk to study,
Shoulders bowed under the emptiness left by our curious games,
Or else strutting along the hall in my old
Black heels, or holding my hand as if it
Were the only thing in the world to touch,
Whispering comforts in my ear and
Straightening my back which you used to
Bend as you swung off my shoulders.
I swell with something greater than pride
As I watch you write wounds into notebooks,
Paint years apart into diptych panels, wrap
Our heads together with song and scream
Into the eye of the hurricane, defying it
For all the times it tried to snuff you out.
You are here now as you ever were
But greater, forged with fire and ferocity, with
Troubled mind and twisted link and ink cartridges
Ruptured across wafer skin. You are here now,
Grown and full once again of the heart
Which left you in distant days to suffer your own battles.
The heart which left an angry little girl
And flew, wings askew, back into a furnace,
Pouring out from renewed lips into
Rivers of love and late nights in the stairwell.
You have returned to me this way.
And I cannot understand how to see you as
Anything other than perfect.