where I know her from,
after she walks away
from asking me,
with unveiled aggression,
and an unwelcome hand on my knee,
“What’s your name?”
I will flashback to another night,
in another bar,
when she approached the man I was busy falling in love with,
with the same unveiled aggression
and a different line.
“Stay out of my side of town.”
When recognition arrives,
I don’t know whether to thank her
(That night she approached us in the bar
was the night we sat under the stars until well after midnight
talking about the relationships that shaped us
and kissing meaningful kisses
that led to something beautiful)
Or berate her
(How dare she mar my evening with her invasive anger,
and worse yet with memories of a love that withered
as hard and fast as it bloomed
in the light of the honesty
that her one line inspired)
Or question her
(Did she experience the same hurt that I did?
The same feelings of abandonment?
Did she, too, wonder
what she had done wrong?)
Or comfort her
(Surely her hurt must run much deeper than mine
to still feel the need, many months later,
to question a stranger in the dark
with so much anger)
It is a strange bond,
to have loved and been hurt by the same man.
There are many things I want to say to her,
and I’m sure there are things she could ask me,
beyond just my name.
Instead we will conscientiously avoid eye contact for the next hour,
just like I avoid eye contact with the man we both loved
when I see him.
(Sometimes I feel like my life has devolved
into little more than a series of
I will regret not taking the opportunity to say something.
Not to thank her
or berate her
or question her
or comfort her,
but simply to say,
“Sister, there’s room enough
for both of us
on this side of town.”
compassion, Lessons, Life, poem