Brother

And what would it matter
if you never knew the date
of your own birth? Do the lines
on your face tell stories
you do not wish me to know?
Tell me, brother.

Who puts the stamp of age
upon us, and etches lines upon
our faces, wearable biographies?
Who clothed us in different colors
so we would always be understood
as one thing, or misunderstood
as another?

We are born in the basin,
in the bush, on the mountain,
in the slums or suburbia.
We come into riches,
we come into tatters.
Did we choose this?

We descend to this mortal space
like billions of raindrops, one landing here,
one there. One perishes, another thrives.
We will spend our lives never knowing
most of the people in this world.
What does it matter in the end?

Now comes our opportunity to know
at least one. Couldn’t we start here?
Why else did it happen that our paths crossed,
out of the vast constellation of possibilities?

Have you heart and bones
and blood and belly, as I do?
Is that not enough, in essentials?

We knew from the start,
before our mothers ever laid eyes on us,
that our spirits dropped from the same sublime sky
and this is our truest common ground—
as spirits rolling around in the dust,
trying to recognize Ourselves
in the Other.

Claire Juno, © 2018

 

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