Make No Apologies For Yourself

Dear You,
Make no apologies for yourself
Because you are covered in a listening skin
Because every ache you feel is not your own
Because of the lynching tree
Because of how many rivers they crossed
Because of the bowl of sorrow your mother carries
Because of your father’s wildfire moods
Because when you enter bookstores
books fall off of shelves into your open palms
Because you ask questions of the universe
the world opens before you like a page
Because of those clouds, and that murder of crows
Because poets are your wounded idols
Because the truth even if it hurts, it is to be cherished and held
and just because people die
does not mean they don’t walk with you daily
Because the river has a mouth that speaks their names
Because the river flows with stories
Because you sit on the shore and listen
Because alone is more comforting than being together
Because your pen is oceanic
Because you are big-eyed and eyes wide
Because you suffer from what you see and hear
Because you have sinus arrhythmia
You know your heart is linked to your breath
and your breath is short,
Because asthma is one of the monkeys on your back
Because your heart is the vehicle you chose to ride this go round
Because it can go forward and backwards in time
Because bookstores have always been oracles
Because poetry is your greatest archeological tool
Because you dig and you dive
Because you plummet if you cannot swim
Because you trust the ride of journal and journey
even if you do not always float
Because your heart beats to your breath
Because of this music, you dance raw and wild


Copyright © 2019 by Glenis Redmond. This poem appeared in the New York Times, May 2019. Used with permission of the author.