Urban Paradox

When in doubt,
when only anonymity
inside the margins
of a crowd will do.

When my heart aches
for the younger me
who lost her father
three years ago.

When I don’t trust
my capacity for keeping
a stiff upper lip
above a lower one that droops.

When I see wild turkeys on train tracks
across from the VA Hospital
and wonder if
one of them is you, Dad.

When I wonder how
to endure one more minute
without you
in this world.

Begin to think
about those other worlds.

Fear trumps peace
and I struggle to forgive

my even younger self
for all the times
she gave away her power
for the wrong reasons—any reason.

And the knot in my throat
makes it hard to swallow
the present moment,
impossible to breathe.

When I feel utterly powerless
and ready to find my strength
and competitive drive again
running up the northern hills in Central Park

because after 31 years
nowhere else
drags it out of me
so completely.

When I’ve got no place
to go
to be so alive,
I go to New York.

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