black and brown insect with pincers

I Did Not Trust It

"There are things you don't want to know
Like how it felt to sit on a plane with
Two children and nowhere to go
The law on his side and everyone
Else was too, wanting to lock
Me up.
What else was I to do? 
There was nothing behind that wasn't
Going to kill me, and risk them too."
His watery eyes regarded me.
The light had been beaten out of them
By drill masters and jungle disasters
Everything made of water, 
But not a damn drop to drink
So, once home 
He drank everything in sight
Hoping to numb the memory
Of who he once could have been.
This man knew poison. 
"You are a prisoner of war,"
(He put Tom Waits on the stereo
And quoted Leonard Cohen,
"There is a war between the man 
And the woman."
Tom lurched around the van
Doing a drunken polka....)
He didn't quite trust Asia, 
And after everything I couldn't
Blame him,
After all there was the time
I sat beaten and bloodied
Babies screaming
Denied food and water
Denied freedom and justice
While a smirking cop
Called my husband and 
Told him that his
Property was found
And waiting. 
Then the words, much later:
"I am going to get you out.
All of you."
I might have said I didn't need
A hero,
I might have pretended that
I could fix it for myself. 
I might have protested that
I had nothing to give
And nothing I could accept
In return for nothing.
I might have said I thought
It impossible. 
And it was. 
The plane landed. 
I had never dropped into 
The USA in LA that way
It was not green and I 
Did not trust it.
The children hung onto me,
The center of their world
Their anchor
Their constant
Their everything
Their protector
The person playing a game
Of dangerous deadly chess
With them as the pawns
Their father chose to 
And I had sworn to protect.
I was forever inadequate
Living not for myself.
I was always on the back foot
Sacrificing the Queen 
Over and over again
Until she was sanded smooth
And featureless. 
But as I hopped on that bus
And the grizzled man, who 
Used to be young in my eyes
Held out a hand
And California passed me by,
Los Angeles shades of orange
And sandstone yellow, and clear
Distilled blue, and the grey of 
The highway,
The landscape alien and full
Of snakes and scorpions
Howling with coyotes
And only partially 
Encumbered with 
I started to live
For me again. 


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