We were just trying to fool ourselves.

The last time, our cadence was off,

and the chance to clear our throats

came too late. Instead of using a filter

for our water, we listened for the dirt particles 

echoing in our glasses and scanned the liquid 

for dog hair, cat fur, tiny pieces of dust. We fulfilled 

our thirst with the kind of grace that ignores 

the incoming argument to stand up and gulp 

anyway. We didn’t look at each other.

It wasn’t agony, exactly. 

At each other’s behest, we wanted to ascend, 

to make crystalline the rasp of our voices, 

to turn on our heel toward revelation, 

but instead we stumbled and yelled. The old fights, 

which thrive and surge each time we think 

we might prevail, venture out again 

and leave us feeling plundered. Our faces turn 

blood vessel red, as if we daub them with paint, 

and we each become, in those moments, 

a totem of anger. In every destiny 

there is design. Ours is all about the timing. 

Clara Bush Vadala is a North Texas (Grayson County) poet and veterinarian. Her poems have appeared in Thimble Literary Magazine, SWWIM, and Okay Donkey Lit Mag, and have been featured locally as a part of the Pegasus Reading Series and Poets on X+. She has published two books of poetry, available from Finishing Line Press: Beast Invites Me In (2020) and Prairie Smoke (2017).