Protection 2017

by Christos Polydorou

My mother knew better.
She taught me.
When a lioness suddenly roars,

you put down
even the coloring pencils,
and listen. Sound

of Serengeti in the child
-hood living room
echoing

into every living room
every living
adult goes into. What is it

about the kitchen? It is a stressful
place for me, and a lot
of other Italians

I have lived with
in the UK. But I am
not Italian, but there

was a guy, once, I
had to share the stove
with him. When I was

near him, I heard the great
lioness roaring for me
to run away. I

looked up
from my pan
into the face

of a man
who resented everything,
especially himself. Something

shallow in his
eyes (blue, a
colour) moved me

at the time
to protect him, but
he turned out

to have so
much anger and
hate in him, whenever

he sneezed
I stepped back, a
knee-jerk reaction,

I don’t know. Everything
about me
knew about

this guy. Everything
spoke to me
in lucid English.

I don’t regret
any care
I gave him

any advice, profound
or dismissive. He betrayed me,
and betrayal

is generally agreed
to be unforgivable. I
suppose this is why

I put my forgiveness
in a higher power, because
I am unable to forgive, if

someone has
betrayed me. I am learning,
and I am trying

to grow, but some
knives
cut

too deep. But there is
no such thing
as having

no one to protect. You
have
yourself.

It is
raining. A gull
just flew by.

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