There’s a place, at the intersection
of break downs and choices ahead,
where I have ownership, but avoid.
Courage resides there, and other
parts of self unnamed – I haunt
the place by night, intrigued by
the camaraderie, lack the guts
to venture into the unknown –
decidedly a criminal element;
need a sense of adventure to aid
escape, squeeze me past seedy,
neglected, cracked pane spaces;
lack wheels, coordinates confused –
am located who knows where –
war for independence my identifier.
In daylight, I am redeemed, visited
by semblances of normalcy, sweet
offerings of obligation, distraction;
revel in youth’s exuberance, pretend
that gifts of kindness sustain me,
ignore the relentlessness of corners.
“Come live with us”, Mother suggests
in her there’s-nothing-we-can’t-handle
tone of voice. Father lowers paper,
raises eyebrows, stern blue eyes
flashing over spectacle rims, says
nothing. Am I supposed to interpret
concordance or contradiction?
“But you live in a box! Where would
I sleep?” “More of a rectangle.”
I contemplate room dividers, imagine
claiming a corner of the room.
Or I can move in with the man-child,
learn to tolerate delusions, listen
to incessant rants of how he’s been
wronged, content myself with
picking up after endless trails of
discards – same four-walled
containment, different cohabitant.
But wait! “Where’s the plumbing?”
How does one discreetly manage
personal excrement in a one-roomed
existence? I startle; awaken.
No plumbing needed here;
I’ve received an invitation
from the grave!
Sometimes life gives us choices;
no guarantee either will be palatable.