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seven and seven, plus eighteen 2010

Janet Kuypers
(poetry converted to prose)

    I know I’m supposed to be the creative one, but I started my schooling in computer science engineering. If I ever write anything, it’s not creative, it’s what makes sense. Which is what I feel.
    I say I’m a writer. I say I’m an artist. But I haven’t known what to say to you.
    And if I wrote something it would be too straight-forward...
    But I want to do this for you. I want you to understand... and all I can think is that if I were a painter, I’d be Michelangelo and paint my love for you like it was the Sistine Chapel, our hands touching in the sky, like it was our Last Supper. If I were a painter I’d give you something that would be cherished. It may deteriorate with each passing century, but as time wore on and oil paint peeled away it would show more layers of my love for you.
    What am I saying, painting like Michelangelo... I’d probably paint like Jackson Pollock and throw splashes of paint on a canvas and call the dripping lines of splattered paint art.
    Maybe I’m not an artist... but when I met you, I asked you questions. I wanted to learn about you I wanted to soak you in. So maybe I’m not a writer, maybe I’m not an artist. Maybe I’m an observer, like an astronomer looking out into the universe trying to understand what makes everything everything... What makes my tie to you so concrete, like my father and my grandfather’s construction business like my brother’s desire to design buildings.
    You wondered why I love tall buildings reaching up towards the sky. Maybe my tie is so much more concrete than art.
    I travel around the world learning different histories, different cultures. I fly in airplanes, I jump from airplanes, I pilot airplanes, trying to get closer to the stars.
    And when I’m on the ground, I admire the tall buildings, reaching up toward infinity.
    So maybe I’m meant to be an astronomer studying something colder than ice, far away...
    Pluto is an aberrant ball of ice. I don’t know, I was taught it was a planet, but then they told me no, it’s not, it’s just a ball of ice from the Kuiper Belt.
    The Kuiper Belt. Isn’t it ironic. They say it wasn’t what I wanted, but I wanted to learn and it’s still a part of me.
    We were outside at night in Fair Hope to see the intricate quilt of stars in the sky, and lying on the grass the stars over us, blanketing us, smothering me in my love for you, I rested my head on your shoulder and fell asleep with you, under the stars. Molecule by molecule, we originate from stars... and the stars were our blanket as a deer came walking feet away from us, not afraid.
    And now I know we are all linked, our bodies formed from stardust...
    But outer space is a violent place: violent explosions create the stars, and our earth has earthquakes, avalanches, volcanoes, tsunamis, typhoons.
    And in all this madness somehow I’ve found you.
    I’m not a writer, I’m not a journalist. I’m an observer. and I came to you asking questions and somehow broke your hardened shell.
    Yes, in all this madness, somehow I found you. I’ve survived the thunder and the lightning, the blizzards, the hurricanes and the tornadoes; I’ve lived through the drought, I’ve survived it all. I’ve even been dealt a near fatal blow from humanity.
    And it’s as if the Gods are paying me back for everything by giving me you.
    And with you I have walked on the tops of glaciers, crouching down from the violent winds, looking down into the beginning of time.
    With you I have watched solar storms and the geomagnetic aberrations of the Aurora Borealis from near the Arctic Circle.
    And what has man done that you can see from outer space? Well, I believe I even held your hand as we walked along the Great Wall of China...
    As I said before, I’m only an observer, but now I can’t imagine seeing the world without you.
    And with these observations, I thee wed. Because I will never let you go.
    I heard a country song about a man who died and was watching his love from above. And I thought, if one of us left this earth would they watch from above and wail ‘til we could be together again? Once our spirits found each other, I wonder if our spirits could hold hands, the way we always do when we’re together, making sure not to let each other go.
    I’ve seen galaxies collide. I’ve seen comets smash into planets. I’ve seen supernovae and the death of stars. And in all of that, I still found you.
    As I said, I’m only an observer. But I’ve found what I’ve been looking for.
    So I’ll tighten my grip on your hand, because I don’t ever want to let you go.




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Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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