Photo by Reva Santo.

darling. beloved. come closer.
I hold history’s hand in mine, an old friend
we walk together along the paved zanja madre
a river of dirt and water. small tribes of seagulls
nest in the shifting sediment

come, beloved. walk with me.
I am as determined as clover
plant the self where you find hope. fly
land. root. you don’t need permission to exist

I take out my ancestor’s artifacts
and strap them to my body like battle gear
a pencil is an army
a belt, an invisible airplane
a horsehair — plucked from inside a prison mattress
in czarist Russia, knotted into jewels
I was stitched from struggle, tatted
from their thread into something resilient

sit with me by the lantern
we are the size of flies buzzing
not all is lost. let’s sip tiny gulps of diluted necessity
and learn to sustain ourselves
comforted by the soft ruffled feathers of lost birds

Amy Shimshon-Santo is a writer and educator who believes the arts and culture are powerful tools for personal and social transformation. Her interdisciplinary work spans the arts, education, and urban planning.