Sunday 19 February 2023

A graceful war


We’re out of the office.

The night lasers in on her 

as sky to minaret.

As waterhole to waterfall,

it zones in.


She scrunches up her face.

“You should go for it. She’s awesome. Her heart is beautiful.” 

Her playfulness defies her crimson dress.

It’s really her I want, of course.

It’s all absurd: circus tricks at baptisms.


She wouldn’t see it coming. 

Women mostly know from miles away

—they’ve had to, after all. 

But I’ve held them close, these cards of mine

—I’ve had to, after all: she’s married with kids, it’s work, I’m new.

The whole lot.  


It’s crazy and wrong to think about. 

Good luck with that, I’ve told myself. 

Or is it her that tells me that? 

Well, not her exactly:

more the ancient womanhood 

that stirs, that burns within her. 


The reply I give is true.

“She’s awesome for sure. But I just don’t feel it that way.”

All that’s left unsaid

creates untruth.

We need untruth sometimes, in certain ways. 

Not lie, but untruth.


I think of her husband.

Just how many men have desired his wife? 

Many, I’m sure.  

What of the women that he’s foregone?

Has he indeed foregone?

Has she foregone?

And the rest of us?

What of the lives we live within and show without?


We fight a war we’re never meant to speak of.  


But it’s not so tragic, really. 

Though we make mistakes, 

we’re graceful in a way,



We’re almost heroes

in this secret war. 


I leave

then quietly watch 

as she enters her car 

and returns to her family.  







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