Fences - Uncharted


By Victoria Otto Franzese

No matter what the weather, 

there’s always a chill in the air.

No warm welcome eases the frosty blast

of unspoken disappointment   

that hovers above me like a shimmering sword.

Conversations are fencing rounds,

with a jab here and lunge there.

Despite my attempts to parry

the barbed observation or pointed question

about the state of my bedroom,

the status of my homework,

or what I’m wearing,

I never make it past the starting mark.

Always the master of feint,

you convince me to disengage rather than riposte.

Conversations about your friends lead to 

criticisms of my friends,

and as usual, I am left defenseless,

unwilling to speak the words I know

will lead, inevitably,

to punishment.

And so I withdraw,

waiting and wondering where

the épée will strike next time.

Still, I remain optimistic.

It’s true I don’t like these fencing lessons,

but I have always been a quick study.

What’s that phrase about the student

becoming the master?

Yeah, I look forward to that.

About the Author

Victoria Otto Franzese’s work has appeared in a wide variety of online and print publications, including those published by The Sunlight Press, Hippocampus Books, the Creative Writing Institute, Blue Heron Book Works, Medusa's Laugh Press and the Southeast Missouri State University Press.

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