Débora Ewing, Was Once

was once

this thing I called love
once wild, once cumbersome
I’m learning to hold
keep it calm and warm
distract it with stories and
shiny things, sometimes
lull it to sleep
let it tap gently on my face
in the early hours, waking

this thing was once
our downfall, misunderstanding
a result of being handed wrong
sets of expectation, like
faulty algebra or
an instruction manual
for someone else’s machine
no wonder
it didn’t work right

this softness
I don’t scream at it, don’t
press it down into my bowels
where it can do the most damage
this thing I called love once
sits with me sometimes, or
climbs over my shoulders
tangles my hair
whispers its true name
too quietly to hear

we don’t call it that word
anymore

Débora Ewing paints and writes in Annandale, Virginia, USA. Her short fiction ‘Coloring Outside the Lines’ and ‘Full Moon New Year’ can be found at www.jerryjazzmusician.com.  ‘Coloring Outside the Lines’ is cited as a resource in the book Jazz Fiction: A History and Comprehensive Reader’s Guide by David Rife. Her poem ‘To Mum, With Congratulations’ was published by Kalon Women Magazine. She blogs about the artistic process at www.debnation.com

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