Categories
Life and Love Poetry

A poem for Al

My gift down the hall

laughter.
wondrous laughter lies between
tiny fingers of tiny hands
forced under edges of shirtsleeves
for surprise handshakes;
hushed giggles down the hallway
over mascot contests
and blanket skirts
and lunches
of beef jerky and Dr. Pepper.

curiosity.
endless curiosity about
moments.
The moments that shape
break
stain
grow
alter
hinder,
that made me who I am
and her who she is.

secrets.
spoken secrets of times
we didn’t think we’d be okay
but we were;
utterances of
“I don’t tell many people this”
spilled onto cheeks
that fall to the surface of the table
on the balcony,
where they stay
held by unwavering trust.

messages.
perfect messages received
at near breaking points;
videos of air guitars and serenades
and a sunflower in an air vent
on a late November night.
audios of tornado sirens
and fake newscasts
and “hello world”s
in bad British accents
wrapped with “I looove you.”

gifts.
unmerited gifts in the form
of laughter
curiosity
moments
secrets
and messages.
gifts I don’t deserve
but spent years
fumbling around in the dark
trying to find.
gifts that sat at the end of a hallway
unopened,
until a moment of courage
and a bag of popcorn.

these gifts, wrapped
into one human
by a perfect Creator
helped me stop fumbling;
helped me trust
and grow
and let go
and love without shame
or without pretense.

By laurenstockam

Lauren is graduate student at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.

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