Like Joy

  “People said, when we were too young to understand why, 
that we’d ‘been here before,’ meaning we were carrying 
our sorrow or acumen, wearing it like a cloak.” 
                                             ~ Remica Bingham Risher

We were carrying our sorrow, 
wearing it like a cloak.
We were always polishing 
the floorboards of grief.
We were waiting for the wisdom 
of our elders to sweeten the streets
with lamplight and milk.
We were sieving through 
frozen loam for precious bulbs:
their names were song-
after-mourning, color-of-healed-
flesh, beautiful scar tissue.
All winter, we thought only of spring.
All spring, we thought of summer.
All summer, we dreamed of the sea
even as our bodies 
plumped with mineral blue.
In fall, we mended our ill-fitting clothes
with threads in burning colors. 
We were carrying our sorrows,
learning to wear them like joy. 

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