I never thought I’d love a boy from Michigan

Part One: When I think of Michigan, I think of the mitten,
I think of lake-snow affect, party stores –
my Michigan accent is terrible – pop, and love.

Last summer,
you took me to the busy, confusing, heartwarming,
heart wrenching city streets of Detroit,
showed me the smokey, black abandoned blocks
of burnt skeleton houses – I wonder if the hearts
are burnt and abandoned too? – You took me to the
Heidelberg Project where minute hands stood still
like the dead in their graves. It was colorful
disparity.
There was a house at the end of the block,
a great big brick one that was now singed,
you could almost still see the smoke fading
into the cool summer air,
but you said it was a home
with people
and families
and loved ones
and memories
the last time you visited.
Now – all of that is gone
like snow that melts with the warmer days.
You showed me the tall golden buildings of
a city funded on other people’s misfortunes,
the shiny gray Riverwalk along choppy gray water
touching Canada,
the locked Church your grandmother grew up in, the faint
smells of lost hope and released despair, a city that
doesn’t quite understand, doesn’t quite know what it is.
You walked me around Belle Isle with it’s artists, it’s beauty,
sparkling fountains, sea air, brightness and light.
You showed me things I’d never seen before – your heart, childhood
memories and photographs of you as a skinny bare skinned boy,
golden, at Laird Lake up in the UP – as you Michiganders call it.

Part Two: You are kindness.
You are forgiveness. You remind me,
with your presence, to be grateful.
I have everything to be grateful for, your arms,
your eyes, the morning sky.
Your heart. The lines that crease
at the corners of your eyes, the sparkle,
when you tell me you love me,
tremendously. You make me full.
The golden glow that surrounds us, bouncing
off the freckles that grace your shoulders
as we hold each other close
and strain to melt into one another.
You make me full – I never knew I was so empty –
you showed me how to love, and what
love is. Your patience –
it must be greater and stronger than the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.
You are true kindness. You are forgiveness. You are the love
inside of me.

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