[Say that I am welcomed, that I have gone mad]

by Christopher Anthony Leibow

After Maria Elena Cruz Varela, for Linnea

Say that I am welcomed, that I have gone mad
that sadness is a country finally conquered

by the fragrance of flowers, that the dawn runs
in circles in my heart like a tiger & will leap

from my hands to grasp her waist one more time. Say
that the history I ransom, with salt & time, is mine

& mine alone. That it is good to be spent, and to blaze
like a match & say to her in my bed, that my name is

the only name that matters, that the sea will find her
wandering in desert, that the falling stars she gathers

will be a gift for her daughter’s hair & tell her that
my heart was born in her gaze, that it is good to set

the caged birds’ free. Say that we have bound our wounds
with light, that we are good, that we are free, that we have paid

our debts & that our entwined bodies have become luminous.

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