While others make smoldering burial grounds in memory,
those who have never made promises to make us laugh
have their own temples in our hearts.
Stories that don’t need our mother’s tongue to be told better,
are these secret wishes that transcend cultures and generations.
“Be happy. May you be treated like how you treat strangers.”
The hum follows them out the front door or the hung up phone,
leaving a scent of their memories and the smell of their touch.
When we get back to the time and place that claims our need,
thoughts of our uprooting or some old days pronounce themselves.
We separate our meetings with the foolishness of distractions,
judging and admonishing ourselves for not knowing the difference – THIS is just loneliness.
If this was the cold, the chill could do full body cavity searches on us.
Yet, we derive the warmth in the surge of the love and kindness that has passed by,
spending days wishing how they could choose our idleness for sake of company.
Grasping and replaying their works of endearment on us,
gives us their strange abilities to pick up on the cracks in others’ voices
and the surprising spontaneity to make everyone else around us happy.
A knock on the door gets us ready to claim back our right to life,
and we make sure to quell the uproar of drum beats in our hearts around them.
Wondering if the longing of the heart was fundamental to us humans alone
makes us too proud to touch or ask, “Friend, when I die, will you cry?”
* * *