Benches - Alexandra Luciani

We began and ended with city benches,

One in the heat of summer, where jackets took up space in forgotten about closets.

It was easy and welcoming, like the blossoms blooming and fruit hanging in mid July, my toe dipped in a puddle as I indulged my inner child.


My body was still itself, figuring out how to respond to men’s remarks, my body was free from making decisions and meeting with my demons.

And in winter spring - that other time at the bench, an in between time- not frigid, we ended. Thank God it wasn’t as cold that day, I thought, as I didn’t want my winter jacket, it’s gray cloth begging a break.

Heeled boots.

Not waterproof.

But my toe found a patch of water and my whole foot felt frozen in minutes.

Closed off minds.

Drawn on lips clamped together, far from the open invitation of other days.

My body was worn, perhaps tainted, or, you might say, tarnished, unworthy, a joke, far from purified.

And each time I sat as though I were looking down on myself and asking, “Who are you now?” and “Why are we really here?” as if I could decipher if it was purely chance, no, it was fate, to meet once more, for I was ready and didn’t realize the emptiness I experienced could be rectified by you.

And, in warmth I thought you would come back to me. As you slinked back into my life, I kept a watchful eye.

I hesitated, but then I took the words you slipped into my mouth and swallowed those magical antidotes;

One red for the bloodshed

One blue for the sadness

One black for the anger and betrayal

One silver for the questions we danced around

And one green for my personal healing.

Swallowed with confidence a girl, not the woman I could be

And I was proved correct, as

I was broken in months, begging for more words

One red for bloodshed

One more blue for sadness

One black for the anger and betrayal, well, better make it two, two black for the anger and betrayal and the manipulation and lies-

I asked but you were all out,

simply sending me to your voicemail.

Alexandra Luciani is a teacher located in New York City. She received her MA in early childhood education from Teachers College, Columbia University and is particularly interested in encouraging creativity in her students. When she is not writing or teaching, she enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her fiancé, and painting.

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