By Sarah Collins Honenberger
Chesapeake Bay Branch, Virginia
It should be easy. Concede, comply,
and still the enemy
advances without concern
for anyone or anything, a killer on an Easter egg hunt.
Like a scout with orders,
it creeps ahead,
surveys the field,
infects the front line,
and retreats to wait it out.
It knows the odds, counts on the unwary,
embraces the outliers and insiders alike.
We wallflowers, blithely eager, batting eyelids at the cadets,
have never been so bold.
We rush forward, refusing to believe
the reputation that precedes.
When the waltz begins, we step three and three,
sway and dip awkwardly
as if instruction comes at a price
we aren’t willing to pay, and yet
In the end we hold back,
No momentary kiss of gratitude on cheek.
Our fingertips held loosely in the air
to let the poison drift on a breeze
of danger, unrecognizable
from the receding days of teeming elbow to elbow
and high fives
and southern hugs,
drawled out in exaggerated welcome.
Truth arrives without shame,
and announces itself in bold outline,
no cautionary tales of warning,
just unvarnished and painful.
Days and days
and still the human heart
The miracle, at last.