(a cautionary tale for daughter and stepfather)

What is it that they hate in each other?
Submerged mostly.
She flairs around the house dramatically
dropping bits of ballet ribbon on a lamp
leaving books in shreds beside the door.

A careless prima donna of exists and entrances.

A man who needs numbers and order
he accepts this female fray and dazzle
because it is life, his own fluttering spirit.
begging for attention.

She endures his nuisance love
a concerned frown on flamboyance
from her mother's man of brutal vision
because it is real.

Sometimes though the pressure builds
to steamy blue reckoning
ransacked with mist and forming rain.
Clouds suck up the whole saltwater pond
and force it down on monster mountains.

The house becomes an ark
rocking and flooding behind me
pulsing with his Zeus, a thunder of indignation
shattered by her feline, frightened Tinker Bell
flashing out resentment, flying into corners of defense
darning at his eyes.

It's over so quickly for them.
A simple change in weather
barometric, physical.

I am the exile.
Humiliation sitting on my own front steps
banished from a war of love I started.

Smiling, they come out to rescue me.
Two white doves with olive branches, one apiece
purely to make promises on this fresh May day
veined green and flaming with birds.

Patricia Keeney

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