10-Line Tuesday

November 12, 2013

euphemism

 

"Wanna go upstairs?" I ask, and even though that means you-know-what, this
is the real translation: "Take me back to center." And I'm thinking of the ways we costume
our requests for help, for a handhold in the dark, for some compass point to tell us
"You are not lost." This afternoon, it might be a cup of Earl Grey with sugar and cream.
Last night, it was the phone call with my mother. And when the teenage boy wreaks
a whirling dervish havoc, protesting the list of chores, take him by the shoulder
and tell him the truth: "I can't do it alone." Watch as his features soften, his cheeks
blushing with the startle of this gift. See his arms lengthen and reach for the boulder
blocking the doorway between you. Recognize the impasse you create, the screen
behind the real story. Free the words from poor translation. Say exactly what you mean.