Various and Sundry Poetry

how to love your enemy

See the dark circles under her eyes, how tired she looks, how pale, how thin-skinned. See her pick at her salad, not eating. See her get up, antsy, from her seat to wash another dish, wipe an already-clean counter, straighten up the basket of white napkins that doesn’t need straightening. See the purple scarf around her neck, like a noose. See how her hair has dulled in the cold and lies, straw-like, around her face. See the tight smile she makes when she greets the other guests. See how quickly the fire dies after she lights it, how fast the glasses empty, how the conversation skims and stalls. See her squirm, microscopically, when you suggest moving to the couch, where it’s more comfortable. See the crisp lines in her slacks, as if she’d just ironed them. See the stiff collar of her blouse, the narrow V of the opening, the buttons flush against her chest. See the sharp edge her body makes of every space she occupies. See the brittle topography of her living room, all those breakables within elbows’ reach. See how tentatively she moves in her own house. See the house crack at the seams. See the sorrow in the wood floor, the ache in the ceiling, the grief in the walls. See how little it takes for you to hold a hand out to touch it all. See how soft your skin becomes, reaching.