I ask,
& you tell me:
I’m your oldest & dearest friend,
I’m a reader, a singer, & a mathematician.

When I wake in the night,
(disoriented, drenched in sweat)
you’re there to hold me,
reminding me that you’re here,
& remind me that it’s over, it’s over, it’s over—

In these moments,
when I’m running (wildly) lost along a dirt road,
you call my name,
drawing me back onto the correct gravel path,
drawing me back into myself:
You’re the guiding lamp leading me home.

As I follow your words—
the bobbing light in front of me—
I come back to myself:

I am Jude St. Francis.
I am your boyfriend.
I was treated horribly & came out on the other end.
Most importantly, I was always me.

If I am Jude, then…
Who are you?
I ask,
& you tell me:

I am Willem Ragnarrson
& I will never let you go.

M.B.B.
10/4/2020 (edited & expanded upon 10/5)

Notes: This is one of my favorite scenes from A Little Life. When Jude, who is plagued by nightmares, wakes up disoriented, he “wakes so far from himself that he can’t remember who he is.” Willem, his boyfriend, chants “him back to himself.” (Pgs. 607-608, Kindle version.) The italicized lines are either directly from this scene, or paraphrased slightly to fit the poem. As always, thanks for reading!

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