You say, "Cut me some slack,"
softly, pleadingly.

I am silenced.
I can't speak, thinking about cutting you some slack
I have been now for six years
Since the time you came to dinner with the no meat, no milk boyfriend
And I didn't know you were coming
And was instantly anxious
And you threatened to leave if you weren't welcome
I held onto the galloping horses of my temper
And placated you and explained that I was only worried because I'd made a meat and milk based meal
I was proud to have held my horses
And have placated you ever since
Tried to behave

I cut you some slack

But I am tired
I am out of slack
I've reeled it out
enough for you to go to the moon and back
Enough to wrap around you 47 times
Yet you don't feel a thing
You think I'm angry

Irritable, yes, my horses are hard to hold
But grief and now despair lie beneath
I have done the best I can
It isn't enough
You say I am too angry
too mean
I don't treat you right
I don't think you like me

There are some people who like me
husband, son, daughter, father
my mother-in-law who wrote that she loves
and rereads my letters
that I'm the only true letter writer she knows.
that I am a national treasure
I want to cry when I hold her note
I'm so full of joy that I have her in my life
That it leaks from my eyes.
She likes me.

I have cut you more slack than anyone else in the world
husband, son, daughter, father, mother-who-died
And it is not enough

And I am out of slack
it is gone
unreeled
I cannot measure up

the stitches fall from the needle
and the sweater unravels

But let me know
when you want to be with me
irritable
tough
no slack

your move