This day in June. Ocean-mirror sky,
intermittent sun, liberating breeze.
No sign of rain, no threat of storm.
My head. Free of worries and images
of worst case scenarios played out
on a dark highway, in an unlocked house.
My eyes. Vision that sees
what is there for what it is. No
cornea-spot, iris-cloud, cataract in my way.
This water. Its rippled expanse, cradling
cool, reflections speaking only truth.
All spells and holds are broken.
My conscience. No stones cast, glass
houses shattered, scarlet letters sewn.
No wish to go back, blame to assume.
I am. I set myself free.
I know what you meant now
when you said you never asked
me to fix you. Why you left me
in the bagel shop with the check,
holding my knife, suspended
mid thought. I understand how
shortsighted I was, worrying about
raising a son in the South.
Why you didn’t want my father
anywhere near him. Why you had grown
tired of my sarcasm and my nightmare’s
narrative filling every single space
between us. You knew something
of a loss I could never have grown into.
Yours was a history
I did not give you a chance
to tell. For years I did not offer
pause, trapped you in
When you came back to me, I was plural.
I had learned the meaning, finally
of empathy. But it took me years
and children and marriages and loss
to find the space you described.
By that time, the bagel place had closed,
my father had died, and reality
had shaken me by the shoulders
so hard I was not the same
person who said those stupid things
to someone who already knew better.
April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She recently finished her first collection of poetry, for which she is seeking a publisher and is working on a memoir on raising a child with autism. Her work has appeared in journals such as Poetry Salzburg, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, Convergence, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Montucky Review, Visceral Uterusand Salome, Poetry Quarterly, and is forthcoming in Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. The author also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.