The History of Love

It’s National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we are delighted to post this poem by Adella Barrett, read at the wedding ceremony of Jeannette Ban and Lola West (October 1, 2022)

I do not know exactly where we stand in the history of love,
but that so many came before us,
some who bore our faces, some who carried our genes and our names,
some who labored a labor I cannot understand.

The history of love, inscrutable and longer than time,
is not rose colored, I must say, it is laden with sacrifice.
We are born of this history, and we inherit this story,
the same as we inherit in our flesh the banquet of desire, the soft need to be seen,
for our bones to be held and read as holy.

On any given day, the history of love unfolds in a thousand ways, minute by fleeting minute,
stark and sober as duty, lavish and divine as the breath of a kiss,
of the way you look, kneeling down in the garden, harvesting something
for me to taste.
There is no food better than the food you make for me.
There is no bed safer than the bed you make for me.
There are no hands to honestly hold my face like yours, when I am lost at sea, to quietly call me home,
you who are my lighthouse.

For centuries love is work, for centuries love is all the things that could never be,
and also
it is you in the kitchen making your mothers recipe,
and you with warm skin asleep in the sun,
and you patiently listening when you know I am wrong,
and you, a shape I can barely make out at the horizons edge,
wading in the water, waiting for a wave to carry you back to shore, to me.
When I write my name down in the history of love it will be with the salt and sweat of all of this.
I will say, our love was a feast.

I do not know exactly where we stand in this history of love,
but that wherever it is, your hand is in mine,
and when darkness falls, and the pages fray, and the seasons turn, and we stumble over the uncertainty,
I will choose you, again and again and again.

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