I have been sorting and stacking, cleaning and organizing this long, rainy weekend. 2018 will be remembered as a spring of rain, and the flood has been consistent. The only constant is change, after all. God is change, according to Earthseed. Written on looseleaf ripped from a composition notebook in 1997, I bring you a poem that has so much relevance now, 21 years later, because I am searching for the strength, in so many aspects of my life. I see how strength does come in numbers, much more now than I saw it then, when I was concerned about the units of pain my own body could endure, alone. Growing up a bit has caused me to know that while I hold some strength within, I pull it from others, from the world, from the wet ground and plants that bloom despite the circumstances. I give you strength as I receive it from you - this is the mutual aspect of love that I didn't understand at 17. I am never empty, because the love I receive from everyone around me, of this world and of the ancestors, fills me everyday.
strength in numbers, mama says,
as I’m closing the heavy oak door.
walk by myself to my car,
frosted gloves close minus hands in
I wish that I could’ve met you when I was
when my mind wasn’t washing
valet-parked cars in Illinois.
when I had some opinion
to share with everyone
strength in numbers
you ring through me
as a reminder
I don’t know where you are, but I want
to buy lamps with you.
I want someone’s name to put on an emergency card
on the “in case of emergency, call _________” line.
I don’t think
I’ll ever have
someone to pull up the covers around,
fluff pillows for,
strength don’t come in numbers, mama
it comes from stomach muscles
and resistance to tears,
detachment from those who
“aren’t good for yr self-esteem.”
so strength me until I cannot strength anymore.
I need a little weakness
drumming through my veins.
-lmf, circa 1997