Family Tradition

by Elizabeth   May 8, 2020


I passed up on dreaming
In favor of more realistic goals
And found it tasted a bit too patriotic to sleep sound.
If you could hear the feeling of our impossibility
Slipping through my grasp
You'd never sleep again, either.

I said I was going Nowhere
If I wasn't going there alone.
You took my word for it and didn't let the
Door hit me on my way out.

And twelve hours in, when I laid me down to rest
In a truck stop off 35, somewhere north of Minneapolis...
My only regret were the speed limits
That kept me from leaving faster.

Eight years ago I followed my shadow east
Until I'd lost the scent of home on the breeze.
I could have spent my whole life
Writing metaphors for loneliness
But I just can't justify spending so much time on you.

I put a lot of effort back there
Into getting tangled up in my own roots
I came out of that blender looking like headphones straight from the pocket
You wouldn't believe the size of the knots inside me
twisted up into all the little ways I'm always going to look like a disappointment
most mornings
It felt like the sun was underpaid and underappreciated
Which I get. Of course.

But it wasn't like I had asked to be placed down between two egos the size of regret
I fought disappointment monsters with self-depreciating humor,
Barreling down a Nebraska interstate, desperate to get back to familiar streets,
As if taking oneself too seriously could be fought off with laughter.
I'm panicking, as if the needle was dangerously close to empty on Minnesota back roads,
As if any day now I could wake up, unaware,
And that woman in the mirror blinking back at me
Is going to suddenly look much too much like you.

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Latest Comments

  • 1 year ago

    by hiraeth

    I'll be back to leave a proper comment on this piece. Nominated!

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