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(For Tina)

In the breakroom, before the rest arrive,

She let soft tears fill her clear blue eyes,

And spoke in a weakened, injured tone,

Of the marriage that was ending, of the

Fears just begun. Of children at risk,

Compromises of the self, considered,

And futures made tolerable, histories

Not lost, and a present revised enough

To make for some other way, some better

Prospect than the pain that will change

Everything. And because I havent known

Her so long, I said very little,

But an equally vital arrival was marked

By the silence in my calm. At last at

The end of that once endless passage. I

Have survived what I once knew was all

Too impossible, too horrible and strange,

Too selfish for a self entirely too willing

To give when nothing was being returned.

And I understand, like a kayaker at the end

Of unexpectedly treacherous water, how the

Powerful flow cushions the hardest rock, that the

Boat is small, but rides very high, that effort is

Enough to navigate all dangers, and at the rivers end,

Where white water smoothes, and the depth

Is greater, that this is the reward. With birds soaring

Overhead, the sun warm, standing on the solid,

Certain bank, the wisdom of the journey a final,

Still satisfaction. The modest courage of self.

(c) Jerry Kraft 2003 All Rights Reserved