Balancing Act

Balancing Act

Balancing Act 150 150 Akharla Mova

When I complained to my mother about fearing like I wanted love too much for it to actually come willingly to me, I invoked the saying, “A watched pot never boils,” to prove my point.

She replied, “I bought a see-through teapot so I can watch it boil every day. Sometimes, it is just about telling the universe that you want tea.”

someone I did not see

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I never learned to love

someone I did not see.

I learned to love

the stoop of my grandmother’s back

as she rinsed clean her fingers

of beets as red as blood,

for a table pregnant with love,

for a family troubled as any.

I learned to love

the smell that clung

to my grandfather’s stark fingers and yellowing


and the way those fingers

could provide flats of wood

for my imagination to carve

in an instant. The way he took nothing

to be worthwhile for believing in,

except for effort

and learning.

I learned to love

the voice of a woman

who was born from the womb

of generosity. She hated being photographed

but gave you a spotlight

for every moment

you dared exist

in her orbit. Her gift

is her giving

is her religion.

I may not be religious. May not

speak with Gods or Goddesses at night.

May not eat the dish

of your particular despair or hope.

But I know love. I know it in my tongue:

how utterly luscious it tastes

with all its desperation

and grit.

I never learned to love someone

I did not see. I learned

to love

the grit

of trying to love

the imperfect things;

the real people.

now, no place

Before you,

there existed a place

(inside me)

a room.


Under construction.

Young kids

without fear

would come and

graffiti the ceiling.

I would scrub

and scrub

with a wire brush

until my cuticles bled.

Still, shadows.


to paint over

but I’d know

would still exist.

Now, no place exists

without you.

You are the perfume

in the rooms

of my soul. No

room without your


no wallpaper untouched

by its rosewater,


late afternoon weather.

A memory embedded

in my present sight,

touching everything

with a soft shade


“yearn” and “require”

What graffiti?

What echo?

What hurt?

You are the room.

There is no

living in this house

without you.