The Ways in Which Women Survive

(Still from The Twilight Zone, “The Lonely,” S1 E5)

Which is the best way to phrase a thought without inviting an explosion?
Which financial slights of hand are easiest to conceal?
Which items are easiest carried from the fire that is this life?

If she takes this medicine to get through the day, is it a failure?
If the medicine makes her health easier to skate through, but makes her gain weight, is it a failure?
If she know she shouldn’t care about weight, but she does, a little, is it a failure?

Does she build a home, a fortress, full of every item that brings her satisfaction? Joy? Security?
Or does she keep only what can be thrown in a bag, ready for the next room down the road?
Does she tell anyone why she chooses what she does?

Just in case, women tell their friends: Here is where I’m going tonight
Here is the key between my knuckles
Here is one headphoned ear slightly askew while walking home
Both in a cocoon of one’s own making, yet aware of every passing noise

Here is the woman married
Here is the woman living alone, perhaps with a dog, a cat, a menagerie of plant life
Here is her stance: Does she need a team?
Does she need solitude?

The woman is reeling from that time, in a darkened room
In a stolen moment
In a time she spared others’ feelings over her own
The woman wonders if it was a sacrifice worth making

Why can she hear her mother say, “Well, I never would have done it this way”
Why does the three car garage fill her with so much dread?
Why does she choose to tell others the things that she does?

How does a woman keep her secrets without rotting from the inside?
How does she expunge the gangrenous infection which holds her back?
How does it hold her body as she moves through the world?

When a woman bundles up in her arms a scared child, will she always think of the one she lost?
The one she never had
The one she wondered about
When a woman makes a choice, will no one recognize it as an act of freedom?

Here are the woman’s memories
Here are the people she hurt 
Here are those she loves

When a woman makes a choice, will she feel relief on the other side?
When a woman makes a choice, will she have done it at the sacrifice of someone else?
When a woman makes a choice
A choice
She wonders if it is a failure to ask for forgiveness
wrapped up in a history she finds difficult to articulate.