After All

Street lamps burn white holes into
The darkest of night’s skies.
People still walk
Along the paved grey concrete stripes
Past shops that closed hours (or days) ago
Past squares of green and colors
Past homeless artists up past their bedtimes
They are singing songs that were popular decades ago….
Young couples share their first kisses, while
More seasoned couples smile to remember, and
Musicians wander the streets
Along with starving writers
Searching for inspiration, for a voice
One decides that we are all searching for
Something–for meaning
In a senseless world
–for beauty
Where aesthetics are lost
–for emotion
In a land of stoicism
A poet weeps
Barely standing in the shadow
Of a street light
Yet he emits his own light
Through his learning and observations

And so the evening isn’t a loss after all.

–Karin Salisbury


photo credit

Breast Cancer Awareness

I posted this piece originally here. It has become one of my favorite short pieces that I have written, and the images I see when I read it still touch me. I hope you enjoy it for this week’s Flashback Friday/Fiction Friday post.

I lean her tiny frame against my chest as I see her thin reflection in the bathroom mirror. I know she will not ask for help. Still, she has become so weak, so frail, that even the buttons on her shirt have become difficult for her. I slide my arms around her and begin at the top, pulling, twisting, and pulling each button through the stitched hole. As I see her profile in the mirror, I recognize the wear on her face, the shine of light from her head. I pull her shirt down off her shoulders as the water in the shower streams across the tile, beats rain-like patterns on the glass door. My hands move across her back to unhook her bra, and I slide the straps off her shoulders, remove the prosthesis. I run my hands down her shoulders, across her chest, her collarbone, her space where her breast used to be.

The scar from where she fought like a dragon feels smooth on my fingertips. The new form is different, yes, but beautiful still. Even more beautiful.

I help her climb the small step into the steam of the shower. I look through the glass, not bathed in water vapor, and I see her again for the first time.

These moments catch me off guard. I feel like I am the one who should fight this monster for her, but she has had to walk a path through darkness and pain I may never know.

My eyes begin to well, but the tears are not full of loss for her breast, her hair; instead a soft smile covers my face as a tiny drop streams down my cheek. I still have the most important thing to me in the entire world.

I still have her.