I come in from the heat
soaked to my bone.
Cool air greets me
closing the red door
I sit at the foot of the couch,
resting my head on mother’s tired legs. I hear thump thump thump-
quiet heart breaths beneath breathing skin.
We are in the kitchen-
pecans, strawberries, lettuce,
sausage strewn about the counters,
In the midst of reaching for a condiment in the refrigerator,
I ask for a hug without words,
but open arms embracing fact:
we are loved.
A handmade star shoots off the silver refrigerator, hitting the wooden floor.
I walk slowly, retrieving the room temperature point revealing my smiling face–elementary school years–directly in the center.
I struggle hanging this long ago gift
back in place. I don’t know her anymore, nor such happiness so easily seen in that carefree smile.
Father comes through the white back door, angry. Why didn’t I answer?
A tear apology beckons
spilling I know won’t fix my unavailability when I was in demand.
This is how I know I’m not perfect in love-punishment stung a bee’s needling, drawing fear rather than honey.
red and white,
with my blue eyes
the end of a freedom flag
no one is willing to slam shut