5

Where Did My Self-Esteem Go?

At home.

I realize the unusual racket is coming from outside the living room window… two feisty doves are zealously poking each other with their beaks.
They pause and puff their chests out like boxers in a ring about to resume the fight. It is spring—I am watching courtship and procreation.

Heading to La Biela.

To sit at an outdoor table here in the upscale Recoleta neighborhood is akin to being at a theater and not knowing what show will take the stage.

Confitería La Biela
Photo courtesy Ana Vaisenstein

At La Biela courtyard.

Andean Singer

I sit close to the giant ombú tree whose canopy shades the entire La Biela courtyard.
I stand up and see the singer arranging her paraphernalia on the ground, under the giant ombú tree. She plays an old sweet bolero which Carlos and I danced in Buenos Aires when I was seventeen, at a club where he took me on our first date, on a Saturday afternoon: “Qué será, será.” She is captivating.

Therapy.

I step into my sanctuary of self-examination, where from session to session we have been unmasking the inner adversaries that obstruct my path to a healthy life.
“Dr. Novelli, my problem today… is that ever since the morning I really began writing again, I’ve been unable to stop. It has been all I’ve wanted to do. Exclusively. It is ridiculous. Isn’t this pathological?”
Dr. Novelli: “Beatriz—you are devaluing the re-encounter with your writing: you are devaluing your creativity…

The doctor says I’m refusing
to splinter shared into single
self
.  Shall I emerge whole,
divided but stronger?

Shall I flee this table out
into these wild city streets
or listen to the voices:
stay, order

Read my entire poem here

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