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The Beloved has to be by Tucker Lieberman

Do you have to be in exile,

do you have to say what no one else is saying,

do you have to seek intimacy,

provoke them to feel what they can’t feel

before you know if they can handle you?

How you must transform:

explain but don’t excuse,

tolerate but don’t settle,

pay dues but don’t sell out,

sympathize but have boundaries,

be vulnerable and survive,

see the beloved’s deeds and don’t argue.

The beloved has to be in exile,

has already fled to the isle of former beloveds,

is now walking love’s own beach.

Your blaze of memory is

neutralizing the irreversible,

reversing the irreversible,

unhexing the irreversible,

plumbing the depths of the irreversible,

gifting all lovers the irreversible.

Tucker Lieberman is the author of Painting Dragons: What Storytellers Need to Know About Writing Eunuch Villains and Bad Fire: A Memoir of Disruption. He has stories in Owl Canyon’s No Bars and a Dead Battery and Elly Blue’s forthcoming The Great Trans-Universal Bike Ride. His poems have recently appeared in Across & Through, Marias at Sampaguitas, Little Dog, The Conclusion, Esthetic Apostle, Déraciné, Neologism, and Defenestration. He lives with his husband in Bogotá, Colombia. Twitter: @tuckerlieberman

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