It starts with one ripple-
a name,
a "me too,"
a smile
across a crowded room-
and you're instant friends.

You've learned to recognize
a kindred spirit,
but you've also been
dead wrong before
and, since you only have
so many lives,
you've learned to keep
a safe distance.

Years down the road, he sees
the flare you've thrown
and comes to find you-
something few have done-
and you let him
walk you home.

Even then, your petals
are slow to open,
but you keep reaching
for the sunlight
friendship brings.

The world turns,
and you realize
both your guards are down,
realize you're often
of one mind,
realize you've become
constants, that the earth would quake
without him in it.

But for once
you don't question;
you know this love
is true, that he's family now,
and he isn't going