Ice Cubes

Linda Leavitt

It is after midnight
when she crashes into my room
her small body awakened in rage;
muscles, knotted tight,
drive her forward to my bed
not to cuddle
but to seethe against me

anger for the most benign imaginings
incites her to tears
you don't let me sleep enough!
your computer screen is too bright!
you never buy me what I want!

kicking, crying,
she drags me
into her abyss
where her childish fears
bring forth my own tears;
she pulls the covers over
my head, screaming
grown-ups do NOT cry!

talk then, Athena
talk, I say
tell me why you're really angry
no more crap - tell me the truth.

my life is terrible she cries
my family is split, my life stinks!

I have no answers
no solutions
my sheltering arms, rejected,
are no longer enough.

Twenty years ago I had a roommate
an ethereal woman
with an understated intellect
and ideas I then laughed at;
I think of her now
and how she handled anger

Do you want to throw
ice cubes in the bathtub? I ask
This startles Athena,
stops her crying;
why? she asks guardedly
what good will that do?

You'll see...
I smile and lead her to the kitchen,
open the freezer door,
hand her the ice tray.
She follows me to the bathroom

Together we dig our nails
into spaces between plastic
and ice
grab the slippery cubes and
with arms raised high
send them crashing one by one,
shattering against porcelain steel;
the thundering racket resounds, satisfying

a harmless catharsis
rage vented
no one hurt;
damage not erased
but temporarily bandaged

then, with icy hands held forth
she falls against my chest
allowing me, finally, to hold her
in the sheltering embrace
she used to welcome.

Cover Prior Next

The 2River View, 3_2 (Winter 1999)