From my car I watched with dread
the woman who had raged at the meeting, condemned us all,
heading toward the car I’d nicked on the way in.
My daughter hiding in the back,
“I’m scared” coming from the balled-up shape of her.
Trembling a bit myself, I got out of my car
as the woman read the note I’d left earlier.
All went well enough after I told her what went wrong,
except the scratch so small—perhaps
not even mine— it seemed near silly,
and a laugh I could not tamp down gurgled in my throat,
and in my honesty, I lied to her,
said I liked what she’d fought for in the meeting.
Her rage so clearly protecting her broken heart,
her old pain spewing everywhere, and here I stood,
broken before her, a little false, though trying to do right.
Two women, we stood not knowing what to say,
both glad everything was over. I walked away a little
lighter, although muddled and a spectacle
for the child who had gathered her courage, unwound
and looked out to the grim and foolish street
into the yellow light of failure and confusion
and good enough and it will be okay.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.