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The President's Companion

While I was a young woman with my hair long and tied back, I
walked outside, lost in thought, scuffing my boots. You spoke from
your post through the speakers and the televisions, and when you
paused to take a breath, you heard the sounds of a young woman
walking. Two people unknown to each other.

Soon I took notice of the armed guards in the subway and looked
closely at these extensions of you. Called to, I kept walking,
disappearing into the river of passengers leaving the station.

And then I stopped walking. I sat in contemplation and the signs
of your attention poured over me. I had been your counterpoint all
along and I chose to join you in your gardens and rooms.

That we found ourselves together in the ritual of the everyday, in the
ritual of opening the notebook and writing, the ritual of consulting
the newspaper, the ritual of standing before the questioning crowds,
does not speak to my ingenuity but to the way of the world forever.

Your back slumped as you sat at your desk preparing to leave this
office. I, older now, will meet you on the other side. Everything I
have learned about consequence, I've learned from you.

Laura Cronk

Having Been an Accomplice
Persea Books

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