“Today,” A Compilation

Unconditional

The girl waited patiently, her purple bag in hand
at the back of the room, her friends already gone.
He stepped in at the door, shook a hand, removed his hat
and shook the ice off his coat.

He saw her momentarily, her face bright with unbridled bliss
that could perhaps only be mustered for him.
Her boots squealed on the wet floor and he caught her in his arms
from where she’d leapt.

He smiled at her, turned, and asked another question
But her eyes never strayed from him.
She grabbed for his glasses, fogged as they were,
and her arm brushed against the stubble on his cheek.
His hat hair and damp coat could not defer her.
She was content there, in his arms
with her purple bag and matching boots.

Maybe he filled that bag this morning
with an apple or some cheese
before he sent her off to wait for him
to come and find her once again.

I’m writing this because before they left that room,
I saw upon his face,
behind the stubble
and his squinting, naked eyes, the same joy
that I’m sure he feels every day
at precisely five-o’-clock
when he comes to find his daughter
in her purple, squeaky boots.

He kept it on a harness, though it strained against its chain,
mature and understanding, but cautious nonetheless.
He has been hurt before.
But, in that moment, their eyes met
his guarded, squinting gaze, and her soft, bright response.
She does not know despair, and the brimming love is there
she will not hurt him yet, not for several years to come;
where he sees inevitability, she only sees more love.

They left that room together; she had hopped down from his arms
and grabbed his little finger, a skip in her step.
His heavy steps came slowly, surely, and he followed her
where she led him,
down a path of inevitability
and of undying, eternal love.

  

Mud

She looks at her reflection,
dimly gleaming in the mud
and hopes,
wishes,
that her pale face remain.

He looks at her reflection,
shining proudly in the glass,
her red umbrella held above her,
and hopes,
fears
that she might see him across the way.
His hat tucked low in the rain,
he ducks away.

She hides her doubts behind a smile,
her reflection left behind,
her red umbrella held above her,
she hopes,
dreams,
that she might yet be wet again,
that rain and mud might find her hiding,
bring her courage from the puddle,
commit her fears to earth again.

He finds his guilt beneath his hat,
sopping wet and drooping low,
and hopes,
begs,
that one day he might find courage there.
He regrets his past transgressions;
looking back, he sees no red.

She looks at her reflection,
caked in mud and doubt,
and hopes,
wishes,
that he may see his courage there,
beneath the red umbrella,
the rain falling on each side,
that he might keep his guilt beneath his hat
and see her, dry, across the way,
that he might see her in the glass,
proud,
strong,
and that he might just duck away.

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