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BellaOnline Literary Review
Ruffles by Christine Catalano

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Dangerous Shoals

Valerie Austyn

It is not somewhere I care to visit,
This place where you have gone
A retreat to a far empty country
Devoid of spirit or purpose or
Desire for living.

Borne on a shifting current of private pain,
Your ship’s sails inflated by Morpheus dreams
Cocooning you in clouds I cannot penetrate
Or begin to fathom.

Your choice, I say, not to man the lifeboat
To pull the oars with a steely strength I sense
Still lingers somewhere inside you.

But today, hope glimmers, a sliver slicing through
From a rare lucid moment
Of déjà vu smiles and remembered conversations.
A sure sign you are prepared to drop anchor
And leap back, running down the pier towards me.

Seeing that distant place where once we stood
Heart to heart and hand-in-hand, I stand, broken-hearted,
And watch your curling retreat to the safe haven
Of your pillowed fortress.

Wearing my disappointment over blue-fringed dress with red heels,
I stand, hip-shot by the foot-board,
Plastic pitchfork in hand, punctuating Halloween horns, and remark
It’s a sad day when a man would rather
Stay at home in bed with a book
Than go to a party with the Devil.