Anger's Duet


I have so much anger

Slumbering but easily awoken,

In my gut.

She fills me with a rage I’ve never known

I can’t control

It’s humiliating and all-consuming.

My muscles quiver and my skin turns cold,

Her words are sharp as daggers, her eyes and her smirk

Rip my insides apart.

I feel a sickness like death, stale and dark

Because she cannot understand,

Because she always wins,

She is relentless and cruel.


But I am also powerless, because I love her.

And little movements of hers are like a cool refreshing rain

As I blaze

A forest fire.

Her mortality astounds me, after that stone cold heart has crushed me into dust.

It’s the way her mother jeans never stay up, and she can’t figure out how to wear a belt.

And her straps will be twisted or her hair is stuck in a turtleneck collar

because she cannot be bothered most days

So how dare she judge my appearance? One of many double standards.

But see when she cares, when it matters,

she is ironed and matching and presentable.


Yet she can be so clumsy, wasteful, messy like a child,

how does one live so long with such naiveté?

Once I got in the car to find the steering wheel covered in honey because

She was in a rush eating breakfast.

Someone, somehow, always rushes in to save her from life,

Or herself.


When she slips her tiny high arched feet into my shoes two sizes larger, she seems so helpless and small.

Pity and guilt and the need to care for her fragility overwhelm me all at once,

as much as I cannot fight the anger,

it is even harder to fight forgiveness.

It’s the way she says I miss you, tears up,

remembers what I thought for sure she never even heard me say.

And I hate it:

Being drawn back in to the comfort of her presence

But I am grateful in a sheepish way

when she wants to forgive and forget.

Sometimes it’s simpler that way.


And in the end anger is only temporary

A reaction prompted by sadness, fear, or both is

What therapists say.

So I stand at the kitchen counter and smooth butter on her toast,

Apologizing once more.

And hope it’s enough,

Hope I’m enough, I mean.

Mostly I hope for a happy morning,

And the cool, smooth skin of her inner forearms brushing my drowsy face in the sunlight.

I wish for us to simply be.

Where does one find the courage to stab that evasive coward anger,

Show him no mercy,

Let him bleed out inside,

And cough the dried up carcass into the face of fear?




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