Who I Will Be

What is genuine?
Is it a smile or a handshake or
the way you say hello? Or attentive
eyes that seem happy to meet you
simply because you’re you? Maybe
it’s the way laughter fills your lungs
instead of air. How your shirt is
wrinkled because you didn’t feel
like ironing it this morning. It might be
the half-emptied coffee in your hand
that will keep you awake a few minutes
longer. You remind me of an ocean
breeze tickling my cheeks with salty
spray. An old maple tree with names
carved in it. A beat-up pair of shoes and
a new pair of jeans. An open window,
a rooftop view. All of the good books
I’ve ever read. Raindrops playing a
tin roof song. I barely know you,
but you want to know me. You ask
my name for a second time,
like you want to remember it.
I can’t imagine why you’d want to.
You are so much better than me
in every way. You are a shelter
for the broken, a listener of stories.
You are a free soul, unfastening cages
of trapped birds, and decorating the sky
to remind us how beautiful it is.

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