There is no other version of this story (Joyeuse)

Grace Usleman
April 14, 2023

We went to the museum and I watched two kids pretending to sword fight by the medieval knights exhibit.

You smiled at me

smiling at them

and a photographer behind us caught the whole thing.

I wonder if he knows the depth of the moment he captured

How loving you is a process that has taken me years to navigate

and how your gentle touch on the small of my back in the corner of the room alongside the Renaissance paintings was the greatest gift I could have received that day.

There have been lifetimes of moments that lead to this one, gentle breath…this one chance at your eyes meeting mine, whispering my name and motioning me over beside you…

By Charlemange’s side it hung, and never was there a sword to match it,” I read from the label beneath the blade, the one you called me over to see.

And I am thinking about how you make me believe in reincarnation.

There is no way that my soul didn’t recognize you when we first met,

after years and years, decades and centuries of

meeting and re-meeting.

I have known you since before this weapon was crafted

and I am knowing you now, 800 years later,

as it sits behind glass and a few warm, humming lights.

There are some stories too vast to be contained.

There is too much to say about all the things I am unsure of.

But there is no other version of this story

of you, and me, and Joyeuse hanging on the wall.

The blade that was merely legend for years

and like a miracle

you and I shoulder to shoulder

standing before it.

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