Open Borders

I always cry when I leave you

no matter what state you’re in

at war with yourself or

celebrating your life

healing quietly in the morning sun

wrecking the night in ignorance

making amends or making love


you are so many people

but I cry for the one true you –

contentedly singing,

surfing every era

the you who lets me love you


I know I will always return and

am better for the leaving

hearing how others wish they could

love you, too

wishing they could see you

open-armed, ecstatic


I leave your side to remember

the soul of you and

the ugliness of your birth

to see the roads we’ll cobble together

gold brick and red dust, clay and sand


my nation, please soften your borders

my friends want to eat at our table

so often, they know us better than ourselves

who we could be and for what we stand

they bring dishes you’ve never imagined

toasts to the one heart we share

eye to eye we’ll raise glasses together

chipped, but clean

brimming with cheer


my love, I cry when I leave you

carrying hope for us both in my pockets

my cheeks wet with loss and true knowing

help me turn these to tears of joy instead


From my upcoming book, Heavenly Bodies, Liquid Grace

Julie Ann Otis is a creative consultant and civic engagement artist commited to radical sufficiency and ease for all people. 

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© 2014