By: Emily Boshkoff
The first time I met my wife
she told me she had the worst luck
of anyone she knows.
Later, shivering on the sidewalk saying our goodbyes
she confessed into the icy night
that having not loved a woman before, she’d never been taller than a partner.
She pressed her chin to my forehead, murmured
Maybe today is my luckiest day.
Years later we pressed our faces to our front picture window
and watched an ice-laden tree crash it’s way to the snowy earth,
Wrenching power lines from their sockets.
It’s frigid skeleton rested in my boot prints where I had been cradling our toddler son moments before.
I remember a day a decade earlier at a pop up checkpoint on the road to Kabalo, Congo.
That Mai Mai rebel was rougher
than I was used to, resting the barrel of his AK-47 on my window sill;
the muzzle kissed my shoulder.
He asked more than the standard bribe.
I shoved dirty fistfuls of bills at him, and prayed
for no more checkpoints.
The next day at the mission station a grizzled NGO worker gossiped
about that checkpoint, how it poured out the blood of the traveler just behind me, murdered for no particular reason.
You were lucky, he said.
Walking briskly out of sight, I doubled over
and vomited onto the cracked red earth.
I still don’t know the difference between luck and fear
of the divine, but when it calls you
you fall to your knees and answer.
Emily is a child psychologist by trade and poet by hobby who lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her work has been featured in Please See Me, 3Elements Review, and Hippocampus Magazine, among others. When not writing or providing therapy, Emily loves living and adventuring with her wife and newly-adopted son in their forest refuge just outside of the blue ridge mountains.
Behind the Scenes:
In January of this year we had a terrible ice storm which knocked out power and several trees. The first day of the storm I was sledding with my one year old son and we could hear the trees cracking all around us. I finally insisted to my wife that we go inside-- 30 seconds later the tree in our front yard uprooted and landed right where where we had been standing, landing on the power pole and snapping it in half. It took my breath away how close of a call it was, and reminded me of other "Sliding Doors" moments in my life. This poem came from that realization and the gratitude and awe I had for the three moments captured in the poem.