I’ve been living on a raft,
waterlogged pieces of driftwood
tied together by the frayed rope
I found in the garage of my last temporary home—
the home I thought would be my last
I feel like if I make one wrong move
I’ll lose my balance and fall into
the never-ending rapid that is my new home,
a place of fear and anxiety that I disguise
as freedom and excitement
so I don’t worry the parents, and the grandparents,
and the aunts and uncles and anyone else
that may have taken some well-meaning,
albeit stressful interest in my life plans.
Plans I thought would’ve taken me
out of my hopeless hometown,
to a bigger city with far more karaoke bars
and mid-day parades
and far less rejection letters
and empty checkbooks.
I guess I just thought
I’d have more figured out by now.
But almost every day feels like a loss.
Of sleep, work,
life. I don’t really have a word
for the kind of emptiness I’ve been feeling lately.
And it’s far too much to explain
in a simple greeting, so
I’ll settle for telling people I’m tired,
even when I’ve spent the entire morning in bed.
We make so many plans for the life we hope to live,
but we don’t make any plans
for failures or shortcomings.
They tell us to dream big,
but what if we dream too big,
too much, too quickly
and wind up using those wilting paper plans
to signal larger vessels that
I’m still here,
on this makeshift raft,
barely floating above all this ache.
But all this isn’t really worth going into with someone
who’s only interested in being polite,
I wouldn’t want to worry
the parents, and the grandparents,
and the recent college graduate I met
at the plant store the other day
who is still so full of plans.
What have I been doing lately?
I’ve been working on my writing
and I can feel it taking off.
I’ve been taking care of children in my spare time,
just to make ends meet.
But soon I’m sure I’ll be off to New York
or some other big city.
I’m not in any hurry.
Life’s good. What about you?
* * *
What have you guys been up to lately? Are there some things you’ve been doing or feeling that you would never actually admit out loud? That’s okay, me too.
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