I bought gas at the Jamesville depot today

Just as no sidewalk crack has a twin,

Families don’t fracture the same.

Is it sadder to shatter? Or does it

hurt more when divisions grow slowly,

revealed deeper each winter’s thaw

then all at once, passive distance hits

 

suddenly

 

When the oval canvases of

Garin and I, nautical siblings donning

chubby cheeks of three

(photos posed six years apart) that had lived

Happily for 20 years on dining room’s wall

 

Are taped in different boxes, sent to separate cars

hung over tables ten hours apart.

 

When tiny trinkets that

fell deep behind my six drawer dresser-

From bright plastic of careless childhood

To senseless wadded notes of adolescence-

 

Are swept out, widely discarded with

their dusty relatives from the past.

 

When my Saab is piled high, ‘college student’ style,

Not with Soft new sheets and shiny fresh binders,

but four years later, when shards of my childhood,

Baptismal dress, graduation gowns;

Second-grade paintings, senior awards

 

Are the weight felt in the right pedal

That twilight’s long drive home.

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A Poem Inspired by Tracy Lewis

Words flow through my muddy veins

waiting to be let out.

Drifting among the blood cells, red and white.

With the antibodies, fighting unseen enemies endlessly,

with the bits of myself, constructed from carbon,

that are known to be real.

 

Stanzas and verses bumble around, inside me

following the intricate road systems mapped out

by miles of arteries between muscles, bone, skin.

They feel the beat of my always running feet,

the hesitancy in my hands, careful and awkward,

the fragility of ten fingers, constantly dancing through days.

The words want to tell the stories of me.

 

These words, now a deep and violent

red, dyed permanently by my experience. A stain

no household bleach can fade.

They find their way to the meat of my brain,

zapping among synapses, filtered into thoughts,

into these abstract symbols we use.

 

These concepts, they beat my brain

holding hostage my fleshy

eight pound ball of mystery I carry in my skull.

When I’m feeling generous I let a few words

trickle out, into strokes of a pen, symbols on a screen,

refugees on the page. I silently ask them,

are you happy now?

Eggs

In communion with you,

I scramble two eggs every Sunday

morning lasting far into the afternoon.

I think of coffee, the paper, bacon, toast.

Remembering our four small portions of orange juice,

slow teardrops forming on the flat sides of the glass.

Slowly soaking into the dreamy blue placemat,

leaving deep navy rings of condensation with every sip.

 

I stare at my coffee, too shockingly bitter to drink.

The sweet, glossy cartoon faces on the mug

contradict the hot concoction it holds.

You drink yours black, swallowing mindlessly while you read

the paper, delivered at exactly six oh eight AM

You hand me the funnies, the only section painted with color,

once you finish laughing.

I wait wide-eyed for the only section I read,

I want to laugh with you.

 

The dishes pile in the sink,

My mother finishes her meal, she gets up,

starts clearing the table, cleaning our rest-day breakfast.

My father stops her, he cleans it himself, leaves us to enjoy

the smell of fresh newsprint and crisp, cooling bacon

as we sip our coffee with inky grey fingers.

Everything black and white.

 

In communion with you, I scramble two eggs.

Sunday morning, lasting far into the afternoon.

I put my lone plate on the table,

wobbling on it’s shaky white legs.

Twiddling my thumbs while I wait,

water for coffee still boiling on the stove

in a hundred and thirty year old house

you’ll never see.

 

White and pale yellow mounds stare up at me,

steaming and soft, salty next to a pool of catsup, sticky and red.

The water boils frantically as I read last week’s news

on a computer screen. The dishes piled high in the sink, waiting.

Sunday morning magic taken into my own hands,

a ritual I continue without witness.

An October’s Muddy Beginnings

You told her to leave,

so she left.

You followed her down

the uniform steps, even

though she told you not to follow.

You’re just a kid, how could you

understand?

 

The October drizzle left her

umbrellaless and cold, no option but to

seek refuge in the library,

her thin shirt a second skin as

the steady drops mix

with her involuntary tears,

erasing the trauma of the break.

 

She beelined for the bathroom,

avoiding eyes that cast

a plethora of unwanted judgment

on her soaking state. Her strength

silently cursed her college-

a place that boasted sustainability

but whose bathrooms had no hand-dryers,

only paper towels.