Breadcrumb #223


i know two places – 
in one i learned to stand, 
in the other i learned to
stand on my own. 
the hominess of the Middle
is uncategorical and undefinable – 
between the wild onions and
the queen anne’s, i
was laura ingalls and dependent
but free. 
when you’re from the Middle, you
think ‘anywhere but here’ because
somewhere there must be
more to be than laura and her
field of weeds as far as you
can see. 

on the East side there’s an ocean, but
no one notices it between the buildings
and the personalities. the city is a
cacophony, not like the one in the
Middle where everyone says ‘hello’. 
everything has splendor, i noticed
at fourteen when we rode in that yellow
cab and saw the bodegas with all their
outdoor fruit. 
‘it’s just like the movies’ 
(except, off camera where there’s
piss and garbage and ambition
that tears benevolent souls in two). 

i wonder if it was the narrow
streets that made me ill or
maybe the passage of Time
reminding me that pretend is just
for children and that little
house costume doesn’t fit
anymore. faster and faster, until
i can’t see him, 
Time, my measured friend
is changing. he’s more harried
now, like he’s caught
the quickness of those blue streets
and decided he’d better speed up
if he’s gonna make it to the top. 
i call him
but he’s on the other line. 
i just want to know where it is
i should live until i die.
call waiting is what
they spoke about at mass – 
a space, not
safe or damned, just room for
old hope and second chances.

but nowhere is different, we are always
in fragments. in
the Middle we turn off our brain
while in the East we are served our
own heart for dinner. we can only keep
a little slice of ourselves in
this wide country. 

i want to be whole, for Time
to dance in his metered way
so i can glue the
pieces of this forsaken land
with my sticky little life, and
hold it in my hands
and smile. 

• • •