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Burning Coals & Hothouse Flowers

by Robert Rubino

You’re right. I don’t know

what it’s like

to be a recovering addict

wrestling with recovering every day

taking depressing doses of anti-depressants every day

carrying scary psychic scars every day

shedding self-defense always doing for others

spreading oneself so thin exposing thinnest of skin.

You’re right. I don’t know what it’s like.

But I do know what’s it’s like

to live with such a person

to love such a person.

It’s like walking barefoot on eggshells

scattered over broken glass

strewn over burning coals

surrounded by hothouse flowers

so fragile they release paralyzing pollen

if you sneeze on them

or if a chill breeze breathes on them

or if you glance askance at them

while you’re searching scrambling

scuffling desperate

for a deal any deal

on no-fault insurance.

Since retiring from daily journalism in 2013, Robert Eugene Rubino has published poetry and prose in various literary journals, including The Esthetic Apostle, High Shelf Press, Forbidden Peak Press, The Write Launch, Cagibi and Raw Art Review, and in anthologies Poetic Bond IX and Earth Hymn, with work forthcoming in Haunted Waters Press and Bridge. He’s old enough to have seen Willie Mays at the Polo Ground and smart enough to solve Monday’s New York Times crossword puzzle (other days not so much). He lives in Palo Alto, California.

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February 2020

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