Better Things

Pennsylvania toll roads stretching out
across the landscape like a scarf.
Wire trash bins line all the sidewalks here,
and they are kicked over in bursts of frustration
at the low points in the week.
There are holes in the hillside that work as
hallways for light from one side the outskirts
to the next. She makes a list of regrets
that she shows to her dog, but it never quite cares.
Grasshoppers claim their blades and chirp
eerily to fight for the limited shade,
no one wants to take their turn burning out
in the sun where the pain is slightly stronger
than before. Of course those things cannot be
mutually exclusive because if strength is the shadow
of pain fear is certainly its reflection.
Most of this thinking has become all the water
anticipating what could grow in the core of its depths.
There is no chamber of air I can look for
marked with comforting lights to show
the border between the real world and this.
I grab a hold of a fish and hope it carries me
back up towards you. It was the only thing
that I could think to do, most people are held back
here by the pressure, but I know I will be one of the few.
We break the surface and I let go of the gills
and now I see I’m no where closer to home
than I was being drowned. I’m caught out here in the waves
without anything to hold, until an owl flies
over the sea and decides to give me a hand.
I yell over the turbulence that it’s cool if he
just sets me down here, and it obliges
and we are back at my apartment.
I tell it to wait on the railing which it does
while running its beak through its disorganized feathers.
My key still works but when I walk through the door
it’s very clear I do not live there anymore.
A whole new family sits on an unfamiliar couch
and they are watching T.V. it’s some new show
about a drug addict crow that I’ve never once seen.
I say I’m sorry and I back out of the room
I turn around to see the owl has ditched me too.
I take a seat on the stairs and take a look at my phone
which has long since become as useless as a stone.
The words forever alone leave my lips and I’m afraid
it’s true. Now here with nothing to do I walk the streets
with both my hands in my pockets, and look up at all the skyscrapers
that have replaced the vast farmland I was familiar with.
It seems like everything gets better while you’re gone.

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