I’ve come back to you now more than once,

a stubborn lover drawn to a single, sunlit memory,

to the one sparkling passage in a book brimming shadow.

Though you welcome me indifferent,

carrying on the same old way,

I don’t mind—this light becomes you.

I know what they say—about you, about us.

To them, we’re just backward relatives

nobody knows what to do with anymore.

So what if they ignore us, bad-mouth us, try half-heartedly

to improve us? So what if they all leave?

I’ll stay—you know I will.

To me, you’re not just moody weather and a pile of dirty scores.

I know about your leaky pockets of ignorance,

your eroding physique, and your penchant for peeing in public.

I even know about your attraction to hurricanes, and yes,

it makes me a little jealous,

but to me, you’re still the soothing sound

of rain on an old tin roof and the resonance of frogs

through my window at night,

you’re the lone deer I watch

standing on quivering hind legs in cool, dewed grass,

plucking dried mimosa pods with your teeth,

and you’re the exotic flower with thin, white spindles

that blooms deep in the woods where the voices say

you can’t possibly grow,

so let me place my hand again

in the curved petal of your palm,

let me fall asleep nights on the moss-covered earth of your chest,

and when the weather changes,

I’ll massage the stiffness from your worn, cypress knees.