As our eyes met in understanding,
my co-conspirator tells me she’ll be making rounds
for the better part of an hour and closes the door
leaving me to gather a courage I’m not sure I own.
Dear God, I’m so afraid,
can I, should I
But God’s not here, is he?
and there are really no choices to be made,
there’s only one way out
and I clutch it tightly in shaking hands.
The pungent scent of ammonia wafts
through the air as the cap is twisted off a small vial.
The illicit bottle emptied, minutes (or is it hours?)
pass before I see it coming: lungs stalling, stuttering, striving for air,
while limbs twitch and quiver.
Rheumy eyes scan the room,
finding and fixing on my own.
Thank you, they say,
thank you for keeping your promise.
His cheeks are wet from tears
I don’t know if they are his or mine.
I love you
I tell him
as death announces itself with a rattle.
His body shudders and stills with a sigh,
at rest at last.
From behind me, I hear
he heard you, look
he’s smiling –
And so he was.
Leaning forward, I kiss the top of his head,
slipping our little secret into my pocket,
then leave the room, walking down the hall
to where She waits.
Always the innocent bystander.
© 2020 Alicia Winski
An enraged lioness stripped of her pride
I’m left licking and assessing wounds we’ve inflicted timelessly--
no idea how our journey together led us to this destination
I am bled out, dying by heart undernourished-
atrophied in struggle and starvation
So much time wasted, too many tears fallen
faith faded in a mire of hurt feelings and miscommunication
Everything we had slipped away thru bonds
breached by anger and misunderstanding
Putting yourself out of reach, into solitary confinement
you locked me out of a cell I would gladly have shared
if only you hadn’t swallowed the key
So, inflamed, with little thought
I aimed and took my best shot
A commando intent on unleashing devastation,
throwing flames guaranteed to annihilate on site
a man standing against a woman armed and dangerous
Over and over, my flame thrower smoking you
for every harsh word thrown my way only to be met
by a wall of by a wall of passive resistance—
an indomitable force passively absorbing my firepower
leaving us both burnt out -
two countries unable to come to terms
Perhaps we deserved every burn we got
maybe we simply set the fire too hot burning us
both up in the fires of our good intentions
It no longer really matters--
the war’s been fought and lost – pipe dreams scattered
lying cold upon the ground
Victims of emotional warfare
(previously published in Running On Fumes, Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House, 2009)
© 2020 Alicia Winski
Bio: Alicia Winski, poet and writer of short stories, was born and raised in Southern California. Having spent many of her formative years on or near the beaches of Venice, Playa del Rey, and Malibu, her writing style, both contemplative and personal, is reflective of the affinity she developed for water, music, and color during those years. Along with her first collection of poetry, Running on Fumes (Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing), her writing has appeared in publications like … and it happened under cover (NightWing Publications), From the Four-Chambered Heart: A Tribute to Anais Nin (Sybaritic Press), Rolling Thunder Press, Cliterature, Requiem Magazine, Neon Highway Poetry Magazine, and Marbella Marbella Adelante! Having spent the last several years in Seattle, WA, as publisher of NightWing Publications, Winski currently lives in Los Angeles, CA, and continues to work on her second, and third poetry collections.