MY WIFE BEGINS HER ZOOM CLASS WITH A QUESTION. Do you know what is going on in the world? Silence at first. The Ukraine. War. Her students know war—occupation and escape. They carry stories like scars. My wife launches into the day’s lesson, The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolfe. Thirty years and it’s never not relevant. So much a woman still can’t attain. She gives this lecture three times today. It seems to go with war. This war we wage within. Bodies as collateral. Women as casualties. My wife will turn sixty-six on Sunday. Her body is strong. Thick legs and arms like trees. Her face—bright as candles on a cake. And I wish on them. On her. For her. More time. More years. Today, she’s weary lecturing to camera-less squares. These black windows crash and disconnect too often. She worries if she has done enough, if there is still time to change the world. Sunday, I will surprise her. Nothing will turn out and still, we will celebrate.
BLOOD ORANGES A therapist once told me that love is conditional like she was offering me a bowl of oranges that I could take one your mother never had to love you but I took them all and peeled them sweet and clean, tweezing the pith plunging thumb deep but she did. —a gift I gave myself.
Kimberly Esslinger lives in Southern California. Her poetry has appeared in publications such as Spillway, Chiron Review, and Thrush. She recently completed her MFA in Poetry at CSULB. For more poems, visit kimberlyesslinger.com.
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