at first I couldn’t place
the feeling stealing through me
the placement of the energy, in my chest
the relaxing of my shoulders
and then I recognized it
for what it was: joy
joy infusing my skin
joy sneaking into my heart
joy staying with me

there is nothing of easy grace
about this joy, it is hard won
nights and afternoons and mornings
of weeping, moments and days of despair

and then I see your eyes, and yours
hear the voice of each one I love
read the messages of dear friends
feel your hand in mine, each of you
that has held my hand through darkness

joy has no end
joy I leave with you
the greatest of these is joy

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