This time when we move
the question could be asked,
are we moving to somewhere
or away from somewhere
or, you fear asking, away from someone.
That may be a truth left
unsaid, saying requires
an explanation, a ripping open
of a wound just scabbed over
or still raw around the edges.
And there is a hidden risk
in the question, for an honest
response might hold up a mirror,
one you never imagined might
show the world your face.
It may be that it is the right
time and the right place,
nothing more, so we offer that
and you may grasp it if you wish,
it might even be the truth,
but you’ll never know, will you?
He says, “I’ve run out of cheeks,
my own family has used up so many
and there are so few left,
I save them to have one to turn
when someone sincerely and truly atones.”
“I suppose,” she says, “there is
some logic to that.”
“Not at all,” he replies,
“for if someone truly atones,
if the apology is honest and heartfelt
there is no need for a cheek to turn,
the wrong is righted, the wound healed.”
She laughs in agreement, adding,
“You only turn a cheek when
you expect another wound,
and a wise man once said
if they keep hitting you,
get out of the ring.”
Somewhere deep within
lies the answer to the question
we are reluctant or
unwilling to ask.
The only problem
is that in peeling back
the fear and trepidation
we risk reopening wounds
we have long forgotten,
that are scarred over.
Is it the answer we fear
or the question, or
the inability to decide which?
A woman walks up to me and asks,
“can you juggle the salt and pepper shakers?”
but I know what she really wants
is for me to bind her wounds
and drag the sun quickly from the horizon.
I pick up two apples and a plum
but the plum falls to the floor and rolls
under a distant chair.
“It won’t taste nearly as good,” she says
“unless I wash it in my tears
for my long dead mother. “
I take a pinch of salt
and toss the crystals into the air
but they flash between my fingers.
She curls on the floor,
and sinks into sleep.
I take the pepper shaker
and put it in my jacket pocket,
nestled against the dripping plum.