Maybe it was that time I said no,
it isn’t like that,
it’s like this…
and elation appeared.
Call it self-care—
call it what you will but
trust me. I really knew
this time. When she agreed,
sat there and shook her head yes,
soul sidestepped old terrors
in spite of fear for asking for too much,
going too far. I won’t say
it was easy. I won’t say
I didn’t want to pick up the phone later
to smooth out all the wrinkles or
take the thought back, breathing
as I did through my constricted lungs
like a child pushing back the blocks
of a walled-in fort. Or a dolphin struggling
to swim out of a fisherman’s net. All this
and more. Take it, I kept saying to myself.
Trust truth like a bird does the wind or
like a skater on ice. Put your hands against
its fire. Feel the warmth
on this cold night. Let it be
a message from beyond.
Gail Hosking is the author of Snake’s Daughter: The Roads in and out of War (U of Iowa Press) and holds an MFA from Bennington College. Her poems and essays have appeared for over a decade in places like Tar River Poetry, The Florida Review, Fourth Genre, Post Road, Nimrod International, and The Chattahoochee Review. She was a finalist in the River Teeth CNF contest as well as the Iowa Review CNF contest. Her work has been anthologized as well. Her website is http://www.gailhosking.org.