Anger Is Its Own Lesson

by Laura Grace Weldon
Anger Is Its Own Lesson
For R.
She keeps gin under the kitchen sink,
cleans scummy build-up
by pouring caustic shots down her throat.
Evades his caresses,
no matter what he says
no matter what he does.
Breathe out fury,
she tells herself,
breathe in peace.
But rage turns affirmations
into piñatas.   
Self-pity is really unattractive,
her daughter told her. Complaints
can’t dig a well, her mother said.
She knows anger
blocks the sound of birdsong.
Makes even a baby's shy wave
a message of loss and regret. 
No lotion can heal your scars,
I tell her. You know what might?
That vision you had on 9th Avenue
when the bus was late
and the evening sky lit up
with streams of color,
like God on a bender.
Tomorrow, try this.
Lift yourself from bed
like the vessel you are.
Maybe you'll tell him
it's over. Or maybe
you'll see him as a soul
washed in shared waters,
a man who's waited a long time
to kiss the tears from your face.
Whirled together long enough
hot and cold squall. Yet inside
the most deadly hurricane
there's calm blue light.
Stand there.  
Lessons only end
when we learn them.
Laura Grace Weldon is the author of a poetry collection, Tending and a handbook of alternative education, Free Range Learning, with a book of essays due out soon. She's written poetry with nursing home residents, used poetry to teach conflict resolution, employed poetry in memoir writing classes, and painted poems on beehives, although her work appears in more conventional places, such as: JJournal, Penman Review, Literary Mama, Christian Science Monitor, Mom Egg Review, Dressing Room Poetry Journal, Pudding House, Shot Glass Journal, and others. Visit her at

© 2017, Laura Grace Weldon