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Her wariness prickles
after an ill-suited remark is uttered

or possibly misunderstood.

Crushed by an acid word, a sullen voice,
lift of an eyebrow

she feels disrespected, betrayed.

A slow burn begins, lingers
for days, months, years

smoldering outrage
never discussed

until with time
layers of pain merge into sorrow.

Her soul’s inclination to talk
freezes into fury

hardens into pursed lips,
stiff backs, bent shoulders

and in the absence of sound
turns inward.

The original wound remains
beyond recall.


Sharon Lask Munson is a retired teacher, poet, old movie enthusiast, lover of road trips—with many published poems, two chapbooks, and two full-length books of poetry. She says many things motivate her to write: a mood, a memory, the smell of cooking, burning leaves, a windy day, rain, fog, something observed or overheard—and of course, imagination. She lives and writes in Eugene, Oregon

© 2021, Sharon Lask Munson

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