Protect Me From This Wind
you say, leaning into your wife, her hair
not thick enough to form a shield. Our son is
playing defense again while both sets of his parents
pretend to watch the soccer ball kicked
back and forth across the length of the field.
All shoulders are hunched against autumn
air, prelude to the cold season ahead of us.
My husband, not one for awkward situations,
takes our other child to the swings where they can
both be autistic. You tell me about a five foot snakeskin
in your attic, the mice in your shed, a groundhog
you will need to call pest control to remove
from its hole in your front lawn. I pretend I am
not laughing but coughing as I wonder how
you managed to make it to adulthood, how
you are already nearly bald, if your new wife
has realized yet that you are horrible in bed.
There are things I never thought
I would turn my face against wind to say.
How was your weekend at Daddy’s? to my son
is one, followed by another for the autistic boy:
First see Daddy, then see Mom. Of course I never
could have predicted all done Jim Henson,
but that is another story entirely.
Our triangle becomes uncomfortable
before halftime. I count minutes as I listen
to you telling her stories of your glory
days in sports, tales I have heard
a thousand times before in warmer weather.
April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She recently finished her first collection of poetry, for which she is seeking a publisher and is working on a memoir on raising a child with autism. Her work has appeared in journals such as Poetry Salzburg, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Montucky Review, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. The author also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.