The kitten tags the dog’s tail,

The dog moves away.

The kitten chews the dog’s ear,

The dog growls a warning.

The kitten pounces on the dog,

The dog snarls and chases it.

The kitten runs away.

Scared.

No harm done.

Boundary set.

Respect restored.

 

I wave the horse around the arena,

She avoids me.

I move in closer and with more energy to push her on,

She shakes shakes her head and tosses her mane.

I ignore the signs and move in closer behind.

She kicks me

and sends sparks of fury down the nerves of my arm,

prickling my elbow and jangling my fingers.

Pain.

No harm done.

Boundary set.

Respect restored.

 

You sit relaxed as I fulfill my (what feels like) 100th task before noon

and tell me I’m doing it wrong.

I use words to tell you I am in no mood to listen to your directions.

You  repeat yourself,

I use words more strongly to tell you to stop.

You continue with your instructions.

I use words, with volume and plead to make this stop.

You don’t listen

So I use words to spit and scratch,

I throw verbal knives,

Until at last you stop.

No harm done.

Boundary set.

Respect restored.

 

But

Pain and Fear.

Yours and mine.

Crazy bitch!

Mad woman!

Harpy!

Harridan!

Nag!

Scold!

Hysterical!

Burn her!

Witch!

The fear of funeral pyre and ducking stool.

We sisters must keep our rage hidden,

our fury demure.

Forget we too are mamals with with boundaries we do not want crossed.

 

Photo by Philipp Pilz on Unsplash