A POEM

Elle Klock


“I am my own worst critic,” he says while nervously

glancing at the phone on the table.

Tell me again about the peaks, let’s go back

to the place where you shine. Remember Bogotá?

Remember 15? Tell me again what you said about risk;

how it shapes us into our better selves, demands

more than just living the day-to-day, how you wanted to pull pieces

of earth and sky together to create something that would last,

something to make your mother proud, a place she could call home,

to be the man she asked of you. Remember?

 

Aggressively seeking a purpose, see that word,

Aggressive. It’s built to be resilient, a cat clawing at the gate.

Relentlessly pursuing dawn, bull-headed

with the boldness of two g’s; it dares to push forward,

say it again:

aggressive

aggressive

how it punches silver, steel off your tongue.

 

When I ask him about loss, he turns his eyes away

and pauses. Silence so striking, I hold my breath.

What’s under the surface there? I, too, self-destruct,

throw everything against the door and lock myself in.

Swallow the key. I, too, keep my arm outstretched,

a defensive hold, don’t get too close.

What’s under the surface here? When he speaks about deep,

open water I understand that this means more than just the Pacific.