How It Works
Your carefully selected wordsStumble, misspoken
Become what she expected
What she thought you’d say.
Words can do that so easily
Frame of reference slips
And now she can sit smugly
Back readying her attack
On what she heard you say.
Explaining it, reviewing it
Parsing out what you said
Will do nothing now
That it has become history
Part of that transcript
An unchangeable part of
What he said and she said
What you said and she heard.
Words can dig holes, can fly free
Can jump the tracks, run away
Can stand alone, wear disguises
Can scratch, can cut deep, and
Words can seal a fate – like now.
Playing at It
It isn’t a game after all, a lob just over the net
To his or her non-existent backhand, fifteen-love.
It isn’t a game after all, horses at the old hoop,
Jump shots, set shots, hooks till someone misses.
It isn’t a game after all, ten pins down the alley,
Strikes and spares, in the gutter and over the line.
It isn’t a game after all, with pawns and rooks
Protecting the queen and the king’s last move.
It isn’t a game after all, just one live bullet in six,
A spin, then to the temple, then pull the trigger,
And after all that, it wasn’t a game after all.
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Literary Juice, Jellyfish Whispers, Third Wednesday, and Common Ground Review.