To demolish all creative thought in a cliché, say
the sentence out loud without pause.
Don’t question it; don’t sneer. Don’t ask:
Does it mean surrender, resignation, acceptance,
withdrawal, wisdom, abidance or indifference?
You already know the answer.
Code for trade-off, the things that cannot change
not by will or effort, not by demanding, wishing,
hoping, foot-stomping, screaming, crying or praying.
Laziness, perhaps, or exhaustion, one preceding
the other, most likely, at intuiting the insurmountable.
He’s always late, never checks his messages when
he’s made a date to meet me, and snores so loudly
most nights I can’t sleep, and counts on my inability
to hold on to anger time after time, til I wonder
if he’s just playing me, holding me down, keeping me
in the invisible stockades of pilloried complaints,
usual ones like taken for granted and love me enough.
“Look, if you want something bad enough,” my mother
always said, “you’ll find a way to get it and keep it.”
That nearly always sounded like truth, like something
right out of the good book of cause and effect and
Newtonian physics or the natural laws of divine free will
or perception–on the little brain bits we have to depend.
The whole a-will-a-way combo, the tritest of them all.
Except how do I know if I have accepted in wisdom, peace
and knowledge what I cannot change, made a fair exchange
or simply ducked and run without a step in the face of the
inevitable, my presumed conclusion befitting the fatigue
of too many, just too many reasonable compromises?
“Better not to ask,” she’d sometimes say.