Anthem

  1. We are cruel sometimes, and sometimes tender.
  2. To push my hair from my eyes, my lover reaches over.
  3. Not long ago, before we knew each other, we thought
  4. the world was over. I’d been sixteen, I remember,
  5. and I didn’t believe in a soul. It had been that September
  6. not so long ago. Regardless, I moved to the city
  7. and called it home. Regardless, there were stars, barely bright,
  8. but they were there, and train-cars carried trapped birds
  9. to the outskirts and let them go. I didn’t understand back then
  10. how or why this life goes, and the stars back then seemed to quiver
  11. in their static holes. I didn’t understand back then. I still don’t.
  12. Now, some nights, my lover reaches over. If we’re brave,
  13. we call it love, if we’re tender. Once, I thought our love was over.
  14. Tonight, we climb a ladder. Crowds gather on streets below.
  15. They think the war is over. On the roof, we drink beer,
  16. know better. Once, we thought the city would be the answer.
  17. Once, we thought the stars were souls of those lost long ago.
  18. Flocks of birds burst from trains like clouds of smoke,
  19. and stars were fixed, regardless, above the ending world.
  20. Tonight, crowds hold up lighters like faith or hope. Tonight,
  21. the stars are barely there, not cruel, not tender, and seen,
  22. if remembered, by anyone, anywhere. The city wasn’t the answer,
  23. but I live here still. Tell me again, I say, about the soul,
  24. and my lover says, We are made of old stars, remember. Tonight,
  25. he is tender. To put out the stars, I reach up, to be cruel.
  26. I wanted to believe in something, once. I wanted to remember it all.