“The Practice of Civility”

I am Referee
Standing at a stance
Arms splayed open
To accommodate for the
Distance left between
The two of you
My tiger stripes stand for courage
To help me make the call

I am Peacekeeper
Consoling you while
I comfort her
Reassuring words pour forth
Time and again, recycled
Churning in my belly before
Spewing out to tell you that
“You’re right. Yes, of course. I know it’s not fair”

I am Healer
Holding on to the
Shredded love between
You, watching as it
Melts in strips through
Warm fingertips and you
Cling to my shoulder, shedding your
Troubles and your crocodile tears

I am Mediator
Once again between you while
She tugs and you shove
Neither to be outdone, eager
To have justice on your sides
But justice takes to the sidelines—
Vertigo and gravity make
For a better team

I am Counselor
Having to explain
The difference between
Being listened to
And being heard, yet still
You refuse to free yourself
Of the leash that Pride
Holds doggedly against you

I am Caught in the Middle
Ensnared in the back-and-forth
That is your life’s work
Praying silently for your silence
I close my eyes and wait
For one of you to lose interest
Who am I to stop you
When you’re at your best?

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