I Always Sympathized with the Kind of People who
Packed a Tooth
brush in their Jansport.
They just don’t know when they’ll return home.
I have my mother’s wrists and with
age they become more hers,
though my arms are stronger, my hips wide
er and my heavy cheek’s my father’s,
the space between ulna and radius grows
smaller, the skin thins and the base
of my hand refuses to forget
vulnerability from which I came.
I first ran away when I was eleven,
made it three miles down the road,
and was picked up by the neighbors.
That was before my dad left, when
God left, pb&j left, cereal with milk left,
matched socks left, right then I thought
the inevitability was some
thing I could escape.
Most choices we make are not our own.
The plate of cigarettes on the coffee table
reminds me of the dinner we once
shared, Shurfine vegi oil saturated burger
meat, the combo of corn syrup, citric acid, a splash
of tomato extract for dippin’.Us kids,
we don’t choose what we eat.
We left the red smeared plates on the counter
top, cracked eggshell caked from mornings
past, because the sink was always full- stagnant
water supporting bloated bread crumbs
and mold droplets.
We are all recycled trophies, hand-
me-down pieces of pride regretfully
received in our pre-pubertal calloused hands, worn
a little baggy, a little short around legs, exposed
knees, and sleeves not quite touching
our mothers’ wrist, seams
stretched but like air we need
all the dreams I didn’t want to steal
like that of a duck laying her eggs
beneath my pillow, products of calloused
fucks, chicks hatching at once under
my warm cheeks, papa cheeks
her chicks my own,
and I knew it was my mother’s dream, given
through mistake to me, as she gave me all
things, food, birthing pain, strain of solitude,
just as I was given to her, the curse of sharing
the same pillow, stained in burgundy lipstick breath.
The neighbors, dragging me into the rusty red mini
van, arm bruised brusk fingers, they said
“That ain’t the last hill, ya know.”: