It was my grandmother’s wedding anniversary.
My mother group texted us a photo of her in her dress.
And then a photo of her, sitting in her wheel chair,
Full of dementia instead of love and memory.
I saw it, and right there I wanted to cry,
I wanted to be the kind of person who can take a day off every year
And get all their grieving out at once,
Because she’s not really here anymore,
Except in the photos.
She looked so full of hope in the photo,
And the way she has her chin tilted, is just like the way my sister tilts her chin.
I think back on what I know of the marriage, colored through my mother’s understanding,
As terrible and straining,
But in these two photos,
She doesn’t know the tension that will come,
And in the other, grayer photo in color,
She can’t remember yet.
I told the traveling vision tester where I was going after my contract finished,
She said she would love to be that free,
That’s actually her dream,
To travel and have no destination, or place to go,
I wanted to tell her it’s my version of hell,
But she looked so happy for me.
I couldn’t tell her I’m stuck, and can’t make a decision,
I’m repeating a damn pattern,
Just like after college.
The water freezes and condenses on both sides of the glass
So when I start my car,
And it tries so hard to start,
To clear my windows,
It doesn’t know which way to go,
It doesn’t know what I’m asking for,
No one else seems to be able to give me what I need,
A machine wouldn’t be any different.
I talk to these people through my phone,
Texting, or snap chatting,
But I still don’t feel like I know them.
I spend time with people in cars,
And they talk to me,
But I still don’t feel close to them.
I’m starting to think it’s not the medium,
I’ll never be as open as the woman who can tell strangers about her tearing from her pregnancy.
I could go to Maine, and work for my room and board
And learn pottery, ceramics,
From this couple who advertise on their homewritten website.
I could stay here,
Stay for summer, the berries, and the fish.
Or I could go stay with my mother.
Or I could cry some more.
We’re doing a thirty-day workout,
Please make it stop.
I want to not follow through on my word,
I said I would do this with them though,
Everything is awful, and I’m going to die.
I can bake a cake, and a pie.
I can write, and read, and critique.
I can make people love me.
That’s what I learned this year.
I can survive.
My sister said,
If we weren’t family,
She doesn’t think I would talk to any of them,
And she’s right,
But they’re family,
And I’m Kantian here,
In that, they’ll be okay,
If I have to drag them through rocky mud every damn day.
Fill me with good things instead of
Punctually correct text messages.
Let me listen to Ian McKellen shout at me about
My mountainish inhumanity.
Tell me about what you want to leave as a legacy.
Quit talking to me with what you think you’re supposed to say.
Tell me what you feel.
I want to hear it.