Brave

I used to buy my courage secondhand
At the Lucky Duck Thrift Shop
Where every purchase supported
Local kids with autism,
And emboldened
Local queers with trembling hands
And pounding hearts.

They shut down
Some time ago;
The economy doesn’t seem to like us
When we’re full of courage,
Thirsty for our own power.

These days
I hunt it on the street,
Holding my own hand
As I scour the pavement,
Praying for a heads-up penny –
Some luck I can hold on to.

When I discover one heads-down
I turn it over in my palm
Three times, like a prayer,
And set it down gently
Heads-up
For someone else to find –
A Hail Mary.

Full of grace,
I skip across Gay Street,
(Yes, really)
On our honeymoon,
Dying to take your picture –
The light is so perfect,
Your hand so soft in mine –
Look, Beloved,
Look how it doesn’t shake.

Look how steady you make me.
Look how brave.

I don’t go shopping for my courage
In the thrift shop anymore,
But still I see it sometimes –

In tiny fingers curled around my own
As we skip across the parking lot,
Scouring for caterpillars
And heads-up pennies –
Drunk on the power
Of our own being,

Emboldened by the serenity
Of nothing demanding
We be brave.

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