I know I’ve written a similar poem years ago, but sometimes issues do not resolve themselves when we think we have resolved them. I’m thankful for this journey of growth that I’ve embarked upon. Though it is not easy, I’m fascinated by the man I’ve become.

 This may feel like another one of those pieces where hatred makes the ink bleed
But after 22 years
Half-hearted attempts to be whole
And the number of women I fractured in trying to fit jagged edges together
A period where I thought I had stopped hating you
But only being reduced to crying in the parking lot alongside one of those fractured women
After all that
Nah, I don’t hate you

I want to talk to you about
Fences.
You are a smart man
The smartest man I know
So I don’t need to tell you how they work
What their purpose is
Mine
For the sake of this letter
Are wooden
Antiquated
Old-fashioned
Reminders of simpler times

Everyone knows the purpose of this wooden fence
But we overlook the effort it takes to erect them
The soil has to be soft enough to penetrate
But sturdy enough to keep the fences upright

Here is where you come in
Forgive the hand holding
I can’t recall a time I held yours.

You grow your own vegetables
So you are familiar with the softness of the earth
You plant something in it
Hoping it’s in there deep enough that it’ll take something very strong for it to come out

For better or worse
A seed is strong
And even if the gardener isn’t a very good one
He believes in the seed’s ability to grow
As someone so skilled in agriculture
You sure were not that involved in how I came up
But yet
I feel your presence all the same
I’m not the perfect plant
But I’m alive.

Have you ever met a person whose very essence fills a room?
As if the divine were breathing the same air
Inhaling and exhaling energy wherever He is
That’s you
Thus, that’s me
And when I realized I got that from you
I could feel you surrounding me

But I’m talking to you about fences

So here I am
Forcing this fence into the ground
To keep
Whatever
Whomever
Out
No sign needed
You know what fences are for.

But I never looked at what I was keeping in
What did I encase inside these fences
That I should have let out?
I built myself a prison
Hammering away at confinement
Calling it compartmentalized emotion
Believing I released it
When I never even made a door

Protection suffocated without an exit
And the fences felt like they were closing in
The more my place started to look like yours
The more I despised you
The more I despise you
The more my place started to look like yours.

I kept memoirs of you around my front yard
A yard sale with nothing available for purchase
In desperate need of home improvement
I hid the parts of you that I didn’t want nearby residents to see
Small talk grew smaller
The way I ran in the house when confronted with emotions
I couldn’t be vulnerable because I built something that didn’t let–
Well, you know fences work

The few times I’ve been in your presence
I feel like lost Scripture
A translation of John 3:16 solely meant for me
Someone with a divine presence sent his son to die for many who didn’t believe in him
But through him, there is protection in his resurrection
And I just want to say
Salvation is something we all need
And it can only come through forgiveness.

And in that parking lot
Next to a woman who felt more like a passing neighbor
Who I kept enough between us that I could only see parts of her
A storm was brewing
After seeing that movie
And crying a hurricane of tears
My fences were uprooted
It took something that strong
To make me stronger

So I’m writing you this to let you know that I see you in me
And I’m not afraid of it anymore
I don’t construct things to confine spaces in my heart
And I no longer make fences
To make sure anything that doesn’t need to be here
Can be let go.

I love you.