took a chin out of its reflection,
put a world in place other than the poem.
The moment of her saying yes
continually baffles her
because she meant to say no.
Sometimes when she wakes in the morning she forgets, until she smells the word in the sheets, hears the hissing that follows her through the day.
Yes being such an easy word to say
has left the others in a heap on her tongue.
She can’t remember the moment of saying
but it reminds her of the time she was five
and ran for a shell in receding waves.
The undertow caught her,
whistled and tumbled in her ears.
She can still hear this gritty refrain
occasionally hums along while washing dishes
or peeling onions.
She tries to figure out why she said yes,
and can only suppose
that the saying
the moment of saying
Mary D'Alleva's work has appeared in the Benicia Bay Review, SmartishPace, California Quarterly, and Rosebud Literary Magazine. Her first poem at age six was about a flute. She doesn't know yet what her last poem will be about. She teaches writing and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.