Do you remember Sita? How when Hanuman came to rescue her she refused, how she insisted that Rama come openly, defeat her captor Ravana openly? She had no desire for stealth, no desire for intrigue, and though Ravana could not touch her for the curse on his flesh, she remained captive until Rama came. Do you remember that she was tortured? That Hunaman asked her for permission to kill the women who had tortured her? Do you remember how she walked through fire to prove her purity, even though everyone knew of the curse on Ravana? How the people said the fire didn't matter because Fire was the brother of her mother, Earth? How Rama was as weak in the face of his people as he had been strong in the face of Ravana? Can you imagine the eyes of Sita when she refused another test? When she looked at Rama, a man she loved enough to die for, a man who was a god, and knew it was over? Can you imagine her eyes in that moment, as she asked her mother to take her back, to swallow her back into the earth? I think my eyes are like that now, leaving you.
In one story, the lovers are two halves
split by jealous gods, and in another story,
the lovers are victims of a wicked baby
with a bow and arrow. In one story,
love means never touching, but exchanging
a lot of handkerchiefs, and in another story,
love means a drastic change in brain
chemistry that lasts a year, even though
the after effects are lifelong. In one story,
love is the north star guiding sailors,
and in one story love is a sharp blade,
a body of water, and a trophy all at once.
The truth is that love is nothing but itself,
an axiomatic property of humankind,
like storytelling and explanation giving,
which explains why everyone explains
love in stories, the way I once called it
a form of disappearing, and my favorite
philosopher called it a holiday. Listen,
storytelling animals: today, we say, love
is only love. Put down the crossbow, baby.
Put down the handkerchief, Lancelot.
Put away the easy chair, Babs. Let’s let love
be felt in its touch, and be known by its face.
Let’s let love speak Ada and Lucas,
and then let’s let love be silent.