By Adrienne Crezo
It is December and we must be brave.
— Natalie Diaz, "Manhattan is a Lenape Word"
Every year we're here, just you and me—each winter seven stars make a man, arms outstretched, the same shoulders over the same belt over the same sword sheathed and hanging to your knees, the same galaxy in plain sight in the same wavering line, every year right on time for dark by five, each winter rising over the horizon just barely survived, every year a little sharper, each winter crueler with this disease, but every year you find me here on the roof, shatterproof under your arc, waiting for you—the giant, the hunter—outrunning the scorpion I still won't spot in the dark come July, each winter a reminder that I outran an arachnid, too, and just barely arrived, but lived to complain, learned to regroup, every year a few miles farther from what hoped to wound me, each winter tuned to the key of stark, deprived of light, never enough vitamin D, another birthday here with you in the darkest trees, every year together November through Ides, ride-or-die outside, our dynamic duo a labor of love by degrees, just you and me waiting for the shove, hoping for a break, hand in my owned gloved hand, fingers crossed on the tightrope for a place to land, hopeful almost that I won't fall too far, too hard—under the stars we are both made of.
Adrienne Crezo is an editor and Pushcart-nominated writer of Comanche descent; she lives in Ohio.
Art by Jay Baker, an artist from Colorado living in Oregon, by way of New Mexico; he records music as Tom Foe.