Love Poem To My City (poem)

Lucy Flattery-Vickness

I am
In love
With you

I am in love with you in a platonic sense
Like the kind of love
I pour into breakfasts with mom

This love is a back and forth for sure
But mainly a forth
As in
I take a step
And you be watering can nuzzling at my feet
As in
I age a year
And you be ocean for holding
All my sound

I am in love with you
And it’s time I tell this world why

I first fell for your hips
Reaching for the East and the West
Tempting the Bay to crawl up your shores
And then I fell for your motherhood
The way your gut is a harbor,
A cradler of breath

I fell for your crooked teeth,
Train tracks running through your smile
I fell for your palms
For the cracks in your fingers
For the bloody sunrises you held and the gentle fog you let through
For the daughters you held
And the mothers you let slip though

I fell for your roughed-up edges
Your honey thighs
Your dirty sheets
Your soft spots

I am in love with our back and forth
With the way I feel your presence running warm in these veins
The way you sit at the back of all my thoughts
The way you tangled up our roots
The way you guide my tongue around dialogue

My dear
I see in you a womanspirit
With a big curly fro and the knuckles of a boxer
I see in you Angela and Marshawn
Mac Dre and Sly Stone
I see in you an unforgettable city glow and
I love the way you eliminate the need for stars

My dear
From you I have learned the hard questions
When the waves break and fall
Who catches them?
Questions like
Why does my whiteness get to remain nameless,
Yet chronic?
Where do I find the bricks needed to build this body
Into a safe space?

My dear
From you, I have learned listening to insides

You ask “how do I at once hold the gentrifiers
And the gentrified?”
I ask “how do I at once balance mental health
With success?”

You taught the art of walking fine lines
And dancing before the street lights come on
The art of losing loved ones and young ones
With grace
And the art of self
The art of hugging as a form of resistance
And the art of foundation building

My dear, your sidewalks raised me
And I cannot wait to be home

Copyright © 2018 Lucy Flattery-Vickness. Commissioned by Grantmakers in the Arts for this issue of the Reader.