Love Looks Like

On my dresser sits a picture of my grandparents on their wedding day. My Nanna, only 18 years old, smiling into the camera in a snapshot of black and white nostalgia. Her veil falling onto my Grandad’s cheek, both of them beaming. Love looks like dark hair and a sweeping veil.

In the span of five decades, things are added and some are taken away. There are glasses now, gray hairs, seven grandchildren. There has been laughter, and there has been tears. Good days and bad. Love looks like bifocals and shorter, grayer hair. 

50 years. 600 months. 2,607 weeks. 182,050 days. 438,000 hours. 26,280,000 minutes. 1,576,800,000 seconds. From the black and white snapshot to the gray hair and seven grandchildren. Love looks like time and all that it gives. 

In the span of 50 years, the ocean moves back and forth. Stars form new constellations that we will not see for hundreds of years. Love looks like the star that is the mark upon which it stands. 

Sometimes you think you know what love looks like before you’ve really met it. When you’re young, love looks like the newest trend. When you are young, love looks like Shakespeare. And when you’re older, love simply looks like home. When you’re older, love looks like time.

On my dresser sits a picture of black and white nostalgia. Two people who do not know what will become of them. Do not know of the time, the clock that they will run, or the stairs they will climb. They only knew the reason and the remedy. Love looks like the answers, and the chase to find them. 

Love looks like the years, and the passing time. Love looks like the stars, the stairs, and the questions. Love looks like the reason. Love looks like the story.


“No sooner met but they looked, no sooner looked but they loved, no sooner loved but they sighed, no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason, no sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy; and in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage.” 

~ William Shakespeare, As You Like It

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I wrote this poem on January 31st, 2018. It was written for my paternal grandparents for their 50th wedding anniversary, and I read it when I went to England the following March. A couple weeks ago, my Grandad died. That day, I was finishing packing for school, and I saw the picture above in the frame I brought to school last time. That made me think of this poem, and I went back and read it for the first time in a while. I can’t be at the memorial, so I’m sharing this poem again. It’s all I have for this.

In Defense of My Black Shoes

These shoes, which are torn at the sides.
These shoes, which show my little pinky toes.
These shoes, which are scuffed and scratched and bruised.

They have been there for it all.
Musical rehearsals, and the first time I drove out of a neighborhood. 
The first time I rode a bike, and while on stage for my first college play. 

These shoes, with their strings that have come loose. 
These shoes, with their holes and tears.
These shoes, with my memories and heartbreaks and dreams attached.

They are too loved to be worn anymore.
They are too scuffed and scratched and bruised to continue forward.
They are too full of a past to go further into the future.

There is a reason they are so worn out. 
They carried me through the hard things, 
They were there in preparing me for the future.

So thank you, my black shoes,
For the scuffs and scratches and bruises,
Thank for carrying the memories, and heartbreaks, and dreams.

Alice

I feel like Alice, always one step behind.
Never knowing who to look for, or who I’ll eventually find. 
Racing through the forest and dashing through the trees,
Stuck in a bottle while floating on the sea.

I feel too big for this house, yet too small for this world.
How do some people fit, and others, like me, only twirl?
I’m too much of some things, yet others not enough.
I’m often stuck in the middle, and yeah, it’s rough.

Everyone who is trying to be something, is getting tired of trying. 
Tired of searching, and tired of crying.
And I am feeling lost and I don’t think I’ll be found anytime soon.
I’m waiting for good things while staring at the moon.

If the best ones are mad, then I feel quite sane.
Because the best ones aren’t simple, and I’m stuck feeling plain.
All of them, way out there, have dreams to be lived,
And while I too have my plans, I’m convinced I’ve been outbid.

So I’ll have to find Wonderland, because they’re all mad there.
I’ll use my imagination, and try not to be scared.
Because I do believe in the impossible, and I know forever is short,
I have dreams to be dreamed, and my plans I won’t thwart.

Here I go now, one foot then the other.
A rabbit hole of dreams, another and another
Through Wonderland I’ll go, though I’m not sure if I’ll fit.
But because I believe in magic, I know I will find it.


Part Nine of a Ten Part Poem

The middle school girl runs over to me with a bucket of water.

Her hair is dripping wet and her clothes are soaked through.

I sit on the bench bone dry, and she runs over and throws the water onto me.

There is a second of stillness.

I see her face change for a moment- a flicker of fear in her eyes.

I imagine how she expects me to respond, I wonder if it’s the same way I expect people to respond when I step into an unknown space-

how I assume I will be wrong.

I smile at her and begin to laugh, her face thaws and softens into laughter.

She sits next to me.

We keep laughing.

In this moment, God is in the healing-

the water a beautiful baptism of risking trust.

Hands

In the past year, I have held many hands.
Big ones, small ones.
Stiff ones, soft ones.

I have held these hands for many reasons.
Many circle times.
Many plays.

I have said hello by holding hands.
I have let go of feelings by holding hands.
I have said hard goodbyes by holding hands.

While on walks, I’ve held hands in friendship.
While crying, I’ve had my hands held to show support.
While in plays, I’ve held hands in both love and fear.

In the past year, I have held many hands.
Scared ones, loved ones.
Worried ones, joyous ones.

I have held these hands for many reasons.
In every hand hold there has been connection.
In every hand hold there has been love.


If I Didn't Have To

Sure, it’s beautiful.

It creates community- a family like no other.

It lifts me up and makes me feel whole and at home.

Still, if I didn’t have to, I wouldn’t.

Who would want to go into something knowing it would break them?

Knowing the crash is inevitable,

Knowing things will end abruptly, often before you’re ready?

But, the thing is, I do have to.

Because if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t be able to say I did my best.

I wouldn’t be honest.

I wouldn’t be brave.

I wouldn’t be living.

I do it because I have to.


I wrote this poem right before tech week for A Wrinkle in Time began. I’ve had such a wonderful time in rehearsals and it’s been a true joy getting the chance to share so many hours with these people. Still, as I approached tech week my heart started to break a little. Theatre is beautiful, but it is also heartbreaking. Yes, the sadness that comes from getting rejected from an audition is awful, but I would argue that the bittersweetness that comes with knowing a beautiful thing has to end is worse. If I didn’t have to do theatre, I wouldn’t. If I didn’t feel that this is what I was meant to do with my life, I wouldn’t touch it. I don’t like change or feeling uncomfortable, and there is so much of both in this world. But, the thing is, I do feel that this is what I was meant to do. So I continue to, and I strive to remember all the reasons I love it when it gets hard.