November 18, 2019

YOU ARE WHO WE LOVE

A collaborative poem for Corita Day, with words contributed by participants and assembled by writer and educator, Matthew Burgess.

Inspired by Aracelis Girmay.


You are who I love, 

checking the air on my tires

You, lost in thought

You being perfect just the way you are


Dancing in the yard with such joy 

You are who I love, jumping 

from sofa to chair to ground as you battle

     imaginary foes 


You who knows no stranger

You who tend the earth

You learning to surf at age eight, 

sitting underwater, calling yourself an ancient 

     Egyptian name 


You who noticed the beaver in the park 

You smiling at me with paint on your hands, in your hair

You keeping your nose warm

You crying in the bedroom, impatient, tired, hungry


     You are who I love


Wondering about a mystery cross on a white wall 

You are who I love,

You as a victim, quiet and observing — 

You, still my friend.


You my difficult ones who make me grow

You who hold me up when I feel down

You who laugh at my jokes

You, alone in stony echoes

You, sharing friendship and love

Growing whole boats of plants from single stems

You try and try and try and you succeed 

You, who helps me navigate the healthcare system 

     for my 95 year-old father 


You are who I love


Trying every day with every ounce to believe

Letting me sit extra close and nuzzle into the fur in your collar

Always with a furrowed brow, the weight of the world 

     on your beautiful young face 


You are who I love 


You who are my person 

You working hard 

You the light of my heart

You laughing with me

You who brings the candle lit to my table

You sick, you well

You are there


You who smells of freshly cut alliums lingering on my fingers,

You who sit on a swing, making my Saturdays delightful, 

You love so that we can be generous always


You whose heart is always full of love and willing to forgive

You playing a tune like a clear bell on a simple gourd instrument 

     on the street outside the park 

You, building toward an unknown future, insulating 

     old thin walls for warmer times


There once was a girl who knew love with no bounds 

You, who knew me

I love the person you are becoming


You, old tree, who lets your gold fall at at once after a hard frost

You speaking to me through the acts of kindness of others

You sitting quietly


      You are who I love


You who row your boat in the dark

You who sings like an angel

You in your bunny boxer shorts, not caring who sees you 

     going to the mailbox


You are who I love 


The one who notices beauty everywhere you go,

     smiling at me each time we pass 

You, bringing an old friendship forward to the present, 

laden with the history and loss we each bear 


You writing words of love to me 

even if it was hard, confusing, ended–

     I still believe you did. 

You my favorite person, who I love, 

You are why I’m me.


You are who I love, finding the beauty in small things, 

balancing me out, being grumpy when I am not 

You, moving closer to Heaven


Hiding under the dining room chair, writing messages

     You are who I love

You, mending hearts with kind words, 

peeling the persimmons to prepare a purée for the pan bread

You walking away    


You who tell me everyday you will pray for me

You making family reunions into Celebrations with music and art

You who wonders who are creating while I do


You are who I love


Bravely sharing your whites and reds so swiftly,

playing the piano, one of mom and dad’s favorite tunes 

You smiling at anyone’s presence, opening 

     your eyes and letting me in

You with a freckled face and vocal stims and disconnect with the world 

You are who I love!


Steaming the beets, caring for us and others,

Telling a story, you are who I love


You trying to live by your own rules

     You, alone

You in the chair that moves with your feet

You say everything is an experiment

You are sweet fruit, jellybeans and chocolate


You who are part of the IHM community, 

who gave me the grace to become who I am today

I see a cascade of love and history and care 

     and creativity when we meet


You are who I love, who I miss so dearly 

You struggling and loving the best that you can

You who cry


You are who I love


You who saves ‘til messy rooms demand attention 

You gardening with love

You who breathe and blink

You doing your best

You helping me to get myself and others to places 

because I can’t keep track of my own time and many promises to others

You setting the groundwork for who I become

You who know love has no bounds


You are who I love, packing our kale and bread

and eggs into our canvas bag with care, a smile, a story

     and a “take care” every time 

You sitting watching tv, you driving very carefully, 

You cooking dinner with way too much food, 

you whether cheerful or in a sad mood


You who worry about dying stars and boiling planets 

You smiling at me and I know you are proud 

You with your boat, your sure hand at the rudder

You are needed for our world is broken 


You are who I love


You are me when you walk among the trees, 

wandering through the colors, the pathways 

and the rhythms that summon the marigolds


You always napping in the sunny spot

You who loves popcorn

You, who–at 97—bring so much joy to all who encounter you

You, bursting with life, an incendiary force, 

     vibrating wildly


You are who we love. 


–November 21, 2021