Something To Stay For

She had a sore on the inside of her mouth
and it reminded her of all the times she took
for granted being comfortable.
She clenched her teeth in the movie theater
when things would get loud and all the sound
would overwhelm her in a way that made
her really want to stay.

The semi trucks sounded
like they were breathing
as they stopped and started
at the intersections where their decorations
glimmered under all the swaying
different colored lights.
Some scrap heap stopped a little after the line
when the road was damp but the rain
just wouldn’t fall, and all the time
it took to change the light, was never given back,
and they would never know
how lucky they were not.

He keeps his perfect dollar bills in metal wall
safes in hotel rooms while he takes his time
and never spends a dime. The casinos are
closed but the alleys are always alive
with jagged fingernails that scrape up
the dice and play but never pray
about the odds attached like bait
out on the line.

I leave the calls unanswered because I do not
have the problems solved behind them.
A casual weekend father tells his daughter
to keep her feet inside the boat,
and as she lifts them to the surface
a cloud of bats flies giant spirals
up above them.

Everyone will lose it all so why do we hold onto
all this nonsense? All these grudges
and possessions that keep us rooted
to the ground and slow us down.
I’m not around as much as I used to be
because I’m not quite who I thought I’d be,
but now I guess I sort of see
the value in a burning thing,
and every day is different
no matter how we try to make it
stay the same.

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