Refuge

She unlocked the door, peeled off her layers, and removed her bra. It’s 6:30, and the might of the day has placed itself on the other side of those hinges. She wasn’t a champion of anything anymore, no — in that space of stucco and stains, she was just herself, reclaiming herself. On her naked floor, she walked around unclothed. The only face she saw was her own in the mirror, pensive and undemanding of her time and energy. In fact, nothing in this world was demanding anything of her right now. Even her newly treated apartment windows dappled the hazy evening light, as if the very building itself understood — she needed things diluted at this very moment.

Bare-bodied, skin left raw to the air, just free to close her eyes, close her thighs, close her mind, she slips on her gratitude. Thank you, she thinks. Thank you for surviving this day.


Daily Post prompt: Champion

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The Night & I

I listen to the Night, raucous in its pitch-black silence.
If I scream into the Night, will it swallow all my sounds?
Spit it back out onto another Earth?
Will there be another me listening on the other side?

I stare out into the Night, inscrutable in its mystery.
What secrets does it keep, that the Night surrenders nothing to me?
What dark entity has paid for the Night’s loyalty?
Have I not paid enough in sleepless evenings to learn some confidences?

I feel the Night, my hands reaching for this onyx creature.
Feeling strength in its velvety wings.
I wonder, can I tame the Night?
Could the Night take pity on me, flying me away from sunlit realities?

I speak to the Night, my red-rimmed eyes struggling open.
Tired, I say, “Night, what purpose do you serve, keeping me from resting?
Why do you torture me so, lingering at my windowsill?
Causing my restlessness, then doing nothing to ease it?”

The Night replies in a slow and volcanic voice:

I do not torture; I mirror.
I am not the cause; I am the effect.
What you see in me already exists in you.
I, the Night, do not take action. Only you do.
I do not linger; my place is, and always has been, by your side.

I snort irreverently and think, Well, don’t quit your day job just yet.


Daily Post prompt: Unseen