Respect

I was tired
of the backhanded remark
and the subtle inflection
floating behind yet another
decorative screen—

And I remembered
a woman from Turkey I’d met
at a conference long ago,
how she turned to speak
to someone giving her

a similar issue—
I didn’t hear
their full exchange,
saw only their gestures.
Later she said,

walking away:
You can tell
by the tightening
in the gut that’s trying
so hard to keep in its poison.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Prophet without honor.

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