She has skin stained with persistence,
A roughness that can’t be washed away,
He is soft in all the right places,
Even when those places feel wrong.
Her identity brittle with resistance
Weathered raw by confused looks and broken bones
But just like bones,
She grows stronger with every break,
Just like bones his softness grows more beautiful
with every sidewalk holler
like gladiolas in the august heat
Each new flower brighter than the last

They wear overalls
And patched jean jackets
Suspenders and bowties
And glittery striped tights

They are so beautiful.

She makes up words for the feelings
she isn’t supposed to have
He collects pebbles for every time
He feels like throwing something
They hide love under pillows at night
Whisper heart songs into rivers
Hoping the water might hear them
Might hold their secrets safe for while

She finds places to be alone
Makes homes of corners and closets
Nestles in the safety of late nights and empty bottles
He empties all the wrong pieces of himself
Into arms that are not big enough hold him
Screams rough-edged stories onto deaf ears
Throws pebbles into rivers
Hoping that love might wash away hate

They are so brave.

Her body aches with longing
She adds pieces to herself like wooden blocks
Trying not to topple with the weight
His bones are tired
His lungs long for the deep breath of dusk
Muscles patiently waiting to be released
In the dark lonely caverns of his bed sheets
They create words for themselves
Occupy spaces that bleed intention
Touch with nothing but compassion under skin
Their bodies are akin to dreams
Being re-invented with every re-telling

They are so bold.

They discover the inbetween spaces of this world
Straddle binaries like a teeter totter
Evenly weighted with doubts and ambitions
They find homes in the middle ground,
Feel safe in the outside,
Breathe deeply in the other,
The unnamed, unclaimed
They call each other love
They call each other graceful,
Even on the days when the pebbles stack high
And the blocks topple over with the weight
They call each other beautiful.
And they are.