We Gather

by Louis Mitchell

We gather to remember
Your vibrant light & your soaring laughter
We gather to remember
The hands you held & lives you touched
We gather to remember
Your uncommon tenderness & your unwavering strength
We gather to remember
The sunrises that we greeted in revelry & the sunsets that we christened with our tears.

We gather to remember
That your essence will never be just a statistic, a number, a headline
Your life was too big for that
You are not just an unsolved case or a misgendered news article
You are my sister, my brother, my kindred.

I’ll hear you in the rustle of a skirt
I’ll smell you in the warmth of my grandmother’s kitchen
I’ll taste you in the saltiness of my tears
I’ll see you in the flowers’ new bloom
I’ll feel you in the heat of an embrace.

We are the stones that the builders rejected
We are the honey in the lion’s belly
We are the sword in the stone
We are the rose that blooms in winter
We are the fresh spring in the desert.

Common and unique
Mundane and magical
Secular and sacred
Visible and hidden
Frightened and courageous
Endangered and eternal,

No song can fully contain the music of us
No portrait can fully capture the beauty of us
No law can regulate us out of existence
No act of harm can extinguish the flame of us,

Together, we grow supple and strong
Nurtured by our many gifts
Watered by our tears of becoming
Though pruned by circumstances
We continue to bloom anew
In every season.

We are truth embodied
We are the intersections of all that is and ever was
The tapestry we weave with our lives,
Multi-textured and vibrant,
Is the answer to questions, ancient and yet to come.

In our authenticity, in our joy,
Even in the midst of hardship
We are the embodiment of creation
Birthing a world and a time
Of safety, self-determination
Of love and celebration.

We gather to bear witness to our grief and anger together
Today we read these names with heavy hearts
We gather to celebrate you and your life
Knowing that your seeds have been planted
We gather to see the faces of those that remain
Trusting our ability to nurture each other
We gather to show the world
A time when there will be no need for this way of naming us
We gather to show the world and each other
That all of our lives are valuable.

©2013 Louis Mitchell. All rights reserved. Posted with permission of the author.

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