Sitting in Counseling Services

by Caroline Duckworth

The sofa is an avocado green.
I pull up my knees, hold my army green
jacket in a ball in my lap. My hands
are clasping, nervous fingers dancing.
She gently prods me, pushing with questions, sad
smiling plying, pulling words until
they all come rushing out, salty and stained.
Her legs pulled up in her chair to her side, she
is soft and round and comfortable,
and I think about the sharpness of my
own knees, how they press painfully against
each other when I lie down on my side.
I do not want to be all edges, all
sharp corners and pointed bones. Where did my
softness go? It’s in the food I won’t eat,
in the cement under my feet when I
run, in the porcelain bowl I’ve cried to. But
sometimes I still find a softness, and
I loathe it. I want to harden my thighs
and steel my heart to stop its crying.