So smooth when forward moving,
but bristled backtracking –
fish scales
or roof thatching – anything
bothersome if too catching

smiles by cruelty inflected,
as if surprise were premeditated,
a laugh track over
pains of slaughter patched.

If gone against, the grain
bites back – the horse’s mane
A shoreward wave rides the back
of one retreating – a game

only won by repeating. Thus, the expected,
rubbed the wrong way, right:
that resistance
is productive, even destruction –

heat from the flame, and light.

Featured image: Petrichoria by Allison Kay.
18″x12″, Acrylic and high-gloss resin on wood panel.

Image used with permission from the artist.