Blind Hope (To My Headache)

by Sarah McCall

Every night the man who lives above me moves furniture.
There’s a small rubber ball, bouncing. Perhaps a cat.
The man snores like a foghorn, the steady blasts
could penetrate a big salty body. The wooden floors
between he and I are you. Each creak and whine
a reminder of you, a headache that won’t leave.

You are the man in the 7-11 parking lot on a girls’ cruiser.
He makes smoking look as sad as it really is as he blinks
into the new spring sun. He leans across the handlebars
balancing the smoke with a Slurpee. He’s you, I know.
I loved smoking for a long time. This is the way I’ll accept you.
Take the sadness of pain with the blind hope of clarity.

And, here—you are the dull knife on the skin of the fruit.
The blunt effort, the lack of precision, the shitty tool.
You are the mouthful of cement I carry in silence
that I want to churn and spit out, like the orbiting belly
of the truck where you came from. But you are this.
Steadfast driver into the heart of my resistance.

They say you can’t make your partner into something
he’s not. They say when it’s time to leave, leave.
They say letting go is the healthiest way to love.
But you, headache, I’ve grown to need your weight.
A steady reminder of the lightness I am chasing.
What if you weren’t those men or that knife
or the cement? Be an ocean. Let me lay across
you and float, lifted up by your briny truth.

Sarah McCall is a poet, waitress, yoga teacher, and student of all things wordy and spiritual. She recently spent six years teaching high school English, and is currently a MFA candidate at Old Dominion University. Born and raised in the Tidewater area, she loves to call Norfolk home, and seeks out the surrounding salt water as often as she can.