Our Trip to Your Home
Snakes spiral like socks in my shoes. A bird bites my hand when I go to close the window. I woke up after dawn for an early escape from this house of your formation, where freedom of will is the ultimate desecration.
To me this place and your past are located in another wilderness I wished to avoid.
You still mourn. In your eyes the glow is dim from its shadowy birth. Tears are in the sky. Fur is in the skull.
There’s blood on your fist as your tongue curls back behind your smile. Salt spills constantly into the wound you swear is one hundred years old, a family heirloom. Then you tell me, love is like a flower or is that fire? Your mother is perky and alert, handing us hotcakes and greeting us with clichés of morning glory, early birds, sacrificed worms.
Your older brother keeps up his sarcasm. Had to get up to drive the truck to the church where we pray to the high way. Before he leaves, he calls you little squirt and in commemoration of blue collar solidarity drops mud on your heart until you recoil like a crustacean and squeal.
Your cousins whisper secrets to each other. They ask about the crime and the drugs in the city. They drive machines over crops — harvest is their constant chore. Summers you spent with them, watching TV because in that house Mary Ellen was a slut and John Boy liked pigs. Now they are married and have children, wear matching overalls.
The country is a different place from the suburbs where I was raised or the cities were we live. I can appreciate a change of pace and the nature all around and the fact the television and videos are the same. But soon enough I miss the concrete and the culture, the alienation and the attitude, and your house makes me feel like I am ten again and ripping out the dandelions from the front lawn.
You give me another tour. You point out every tree, each invoking a different relative. Each plant in the garden explains a certain dysfunction. Then you call out the names of all your neighbors’ dogs and horses.
It happens. The flesh can fool us all. Ensures the mind that anxiety’s departed. First you have emotional intimacies. Then you drag your new partner through your childhood and coming of age memories when all that person was talking about was Chinese food and favorite cartoons. A little more sex, a speck of expectation and someone else’s memories swirl from mist into bone, then feast on nerves.
You show me the lake, where water used to be drinkable. Here people skinny dipped and partied. Kids used to fish from row boats. There’s a road and a 7-11 now. They were built after you lost your virginity in the back seat of a Ford during a humid summer rain. You knew when you left you could never live here again. You describe details so I can pay witness to the evolution you’ve achieved and endured.
The mailman has a name, as does the supermarket cashier, the policeman, the pedestrians walking down town. I say this is nice. All the values here are not false and destructive.
Where we grow up is not our fault. Even if tomorrow never happens, there are always new things to see.
Sometimes we must admit that various tragedies should be blamed on nature and the universe instead of America.
Copyright 1991, held by Author