The story: interestingly enough, my 2009 poems "Leeches" and "He Is Like" were published in the 2010 edition of UNC Charlotte's Sanskrit Literary Arts Magazine. Sanskrit is a national publication with many submissions from authors, poets, and artists from all over the country; I was lucky and honored to be one of the very few UNC Charlotte students to have my poetry accepted that year. I was invited to read these poems at the Sanskrit gallery reception at UNC Charlotte's Student Union Art Gallery in April 2010. This is where I met my future wife Karen, the magazine's Editor In Chief at the time. It's funny how the power of words can unite you with your future life partner. On August 10, 2014 I read the following poem to her during my proposal at the same location where we met (shown above). This poem is a follow up to the original "Are You Her" poem that was written five years earlier.
Several years ago, I asked the question. Are you her?
I looked high and looked low, but seemingly she was no where to be found.
And then when I least expected it, I turned the corner and I found you.
At the time, I didn't realize that the questions I asked were different from the questions I would need to ask.
I should have asked...
Can I grow with you?
Can I learn from you?
Can I count on you when times are hard?
Will your expectations of me remain realistic?
When the newness of you and I wears off, will you stop trying?
Will you place God before me?
My search for you began with the assumption that there is someone out there who is perfect for me
And to expect perfection out of something or someone who will forever remain imperfect requires me to think again
But my poems that found themselves bound to your book brought us together for a reason, because while you and I aren't perfect in our own right
I believe we are perfect for each other.
I understand that we have come a long way
I will forever believe that the rocky roadblocks placed in our past do not and will not predict the highways of our future
The love you show me makes waking up every day to fight for you, to fight for us, and to fight for those close to us worth it
We have grown together in many fate-filled ways both as individuals and as a couple
Even during our most trying moments I was filled by God's peace that pursuing this relationship was worth it and I am glad I listened to Him
Your caring spirit is a very rare find
I do acknowledge that when you care about something, you put every ounce of effort into making sure that thing proliferates and succeeds
How could I not want that kind of dedication and persistence to serve as the cornerstone for my family
I cherish your loyalty, and with you I am filled with trust and security
You complete me in areas where I lack strength, and your diverse ways of thinking keep my thoughts and actions in check
I am attracted to you spirtually, mentally, physically, and also as a friend, confidant, and consultant
By God's greater plan, I know you are the one I was meant to find right here in this gallery more than four years ago
I wanted to return to this special location to ask a special commitment from you that I am more than certain we are ready for.
Are you her, Karen?
Are you the one who won't lose sight of a friendship in the day to day details of life?
Are you the one who can keep me focused in the areas where I lack discipline?
Are you the one who can forgive me when I make a terrible mistake?
Are you the one who can love me for me, accept my past, pray for my future, and cheer me through the present?
Are you the one who can continue to challenge me and will not be afraid to help me achieve my full potential?
Are you the one who will one day be a role model, teacher, disciplinary figure, and a best friend to my children?
Are you the one who will stay persistent and do whatever it takes to make this thing work and give your best, even when the times are hard?
Are you the one who understands that as I've shown you, I am not now nor will I ever be perfect?
Are you the one who will look forward to being with me for the rest of our days?
Because I am him.