There is a piece of you that lives inside me.
I know it is there because I can feel it
Along the ridges of my spine
And in the hollow of my collarbones.
Like a sparrow it hums
and beats its tiny wings
to the rhythm of the pulse
In my wrists.
I must have swallowed it when I wasn’t paying attention.
It must have been when you were laughing
(it’s hard to pay attention when you laugh).
It must have slipped down my throat
When neither of us were looking
Funny how that happens.
Or maybe it was when
I was struggling to bear the burden
Of a hundred stones of sorrow
On my aching back
And so you took them from me one by one
To give my spine a rest.
Or maybe it was after that
When you found that the stones you carried
Were no less heavy than mine
And so I took yours and you mine
And we bore each others burden to the end.
The part of you that lives in me
That nests in the spaces between my fingers
And takes flight in my lungs.
It keeps my hand steady,
Fills my lungs with something
More potent than air.
It rages fiercely with sharp beak and pointed claws
against the weary sadness
that curves my spine and bows my shoulders.
When I look in your eyes
I am surprised to find that a piece of myself
Has made a home there too
And for the first time I realize
The vulnerability of the sparrow inside me
Echoes my own.
We two people have loved each other
And so we two people have changed each other
that is our burden and our gift.