Posts Tagged ‘frustration’

One on the Floor




math homework

crumpled and tossed—

one student subtracts herself

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I don’t remember inviting her along today,

that Prickly Rose, but everywhere I go,

she goes. I watch her pout around the kitchen

as she makes breakfast, her prickers falling

into the cereal, spines in the eggs. And she bristles

her way into the bedroom closet to

put on her clothes, daring to wear the same

outfit as I. She fusses her way to the car,

leaves a trail of bleary discontent,

then drives off in a huff, harrumphing

at beauty, at bliss. All morning, I watch her

from a distance, as far away as I can.

I tell her, “You know, you can choose

at any time to lose those thorns.”

She glares at me, like, “whatever,”

and goes back to her muttering.

“I see,” I say, giving her space.

She smells as if she burnt her eggs.

So I tease her, and make up new lyrics to.

“Miss Prickle regrets

she’s unable to smile today, Madam.”

and “The gripes are high but I’m holding on.”

I marvel at her insistence on holding

on to aggravation, frustration, annoyance,

stress. I mean, look at her now,

snarling there in the seat I’m in,

intent on her own misery. Oh Prickly Rose.

I want to hold her, but she will not

be held. So I watch her, let myself

get curious. Smile as she chooses to frown.

She’ll come around eventually, I tell myself.

Until then, I wonder at how she manages

to hold that scowl on her forehead

so furrowed, so deep, how she glowers

so impressively long.


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