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Theory I’m Conspiring to Share by Kristin Berger

Theory I’m Conspiring to Share

by Kristin Berger

  (published in her 2022 book, Earthwork, published by The Poetry Box Press)

Love is truth. The heart is a muscle. Children flex it

without thought from birth. They swell with this knowledge.

Kindness is not fake. After a hurricane, first responders

don’t ask anyone’s political party, or ask for documentation,

not even your name, only Can you hear me? We are here!

We become leveled down to bare bones, humanity on the shore

like a strange, day-lit animal. Love is a muscle like water—

it wants what it wants. We are wired from birth to share it,

not hoard it. Take love to places it’s never been. Get off the block.

Step across borders. We share this ancient breath, under these lights,

on this corner, on this night. Don’t be afraid of taking it all in.

Scarcity is a fear-tactic. Gathering is necessary. This is indulgence,

and it’s okay. In the most crowded aisle of the Goodwill, a mother

of an adult with disabilities picks out a shirt, and he is overjoyed

at the dogs on the front. Dogs begin our human conversations,

help us when we think we have nothing to say. Traffic stops

for the oldest resident of the resident, and soup grows

with each item cut and added, often beginning with stones.

It’s okay to cry in public. We want to help you stand.

My grandparents would not recognize this country, rancid

with fear. My grandmother kept the kitchen tidy and hugged

anyone who she had just met. The kitchen sink attracts

plate after plate and up-turned tines—habit is like that.

But love could be like that, too. I have no answers.

This is not a theory, really—a hunch, a hope.

That this poem is far from being written.

That you will help me finish.

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