Another fight, our biggest. We
are still new, figuring out each
other. Our flaws, our gifts. We are
deep in cushions, embraced by the
warmth of countless others who have
sat before us, yet my body
still rebels, refusing to play
the victim. I fumble with the
feathered pillow laid across my
lap, braced for impact of the tears
I’m fighting not to cascade down
my cheeks. My gaze looks upon his
almond eyes, slightly hardened like
the bark of a tree, then away
towards the kitchen table, remnants
of prior meals still strewn about,
abandoned like those fleeing for
refuge. The stillness continues.

I can barely hear the music
streaming from the telly, but I
grasp on to the lyrics as life
preservers to make sense of the
damage I have caused. It’s on
me, no doubts. I have held back, been
inauthentic, a liar, a
selfish protector. Time drags on.

He says nothing. I open my
mouth, primed to speak the rehearsed script
I’ve been devising the last half
hour of dead air, then close it,
my confidence wavering. This
is uncharted, too personal.

No one has unearthed me, all have
tried. His silence is an iron,
a constant press on me, the heat
rising from my skin as my nerves
grow. It’s too much. I burst. Out comes
the worry, the fear, the concern,
letting it go. Gravity pulls
it faster to the ground, unsure
as to what will remain in its
wake. He outstretches his arms, a
peace offering, empathy. That’s
when I knew. No going back now,
all in. Vulnerability
no longer a brick wall but a
welcoming window. Trust no more
a rigid shield, but endearing
love sheltering further storms. He
sees it on my face, impressed by
my grace, knows it’ll be different,
the steep mountain overtaken.
Anything is possible now.

“Good For You”

Good for you, echoes in my mind,
reminding me of how brave I must be,
venturing into the vast unknown, alone.

A compliment, an admiration for my fearless wanderlust.
Smiling at my initiative to go just because I can.
Wishes that they could have the time,
that freedom, drive, and confidence.

My escape from emotions I refuse to face,
burrowing itself in every thought,
is their dream of seeing the world,
breathing in its scents, immersion into culture.
My wanting to be off the grid,
away from the monotony of a career,
is their vacation, a break to refresh,
unwind from tense daily interaction.

I slide into the scrunched seat above the wing,
buckle, settle, await my neighbors and hello’s,
book and music at the ready.
A baby wails from behind, heads shifting,
darting glares at a youthful mother.
Recycled air pumps through the vents,
a hint of coffee clinging as dim light emerges from the horizon.

Lift off, peering out to the city I’m leaving behind,
whispering to myself, goodbye for now,
heading to a place where I could start over.
Leaving the doubts, the what-ifs,
I continue to stare through the thick pane.

Good for you, echoes in my mind,
reminding me of how brave I must be,
venturing into the vast unknown, alone.

“What Team”

Knit socks pulled up to just
below my knees. Pads worn
to the stuffing adorned
my ankles, and fresh blue
polyester molded
to curves I never knew.
Today is the day, my
mantra through the autumn.

Begin again running
through the double doors in
to the echoing boom
of balls bouncing against
the glossy hardwood, the
voices reverberate
off the faded brick walls,
a routine symphony.
Officials ready with
whistles and plastic flags.

The white sphere soars across,
aligning with the sun’s
brightness filtering in,
a spotlight for the stage.
Games pass one by one, two
by two, on and on. Their
pools of sweat contrast my
beads of anxiety.
Waiting, knees bouncing, eyes
shifting from coach to floor.

Clouds grow darker through the<
high panes, cast shadows on
glorified blue pennants,
arms fold across my chest,
covering the name they
honor. The crowd knows us,
knows them. Same old, same old.

Buzzer signals the end.
Shake hands, huddle up.
Hands in, team on three. Start
to clean up, knowing my
place. Risk a glance to the
>stands. She’s slouched, zipping her
faded handbag, arms outstretched.
Enveloping her cub.
Tears. Here we go again.