Somewhere Real

Somewhere Real

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Get in, George Eliot. I packed PB&Js. I’m bringing
that rainbow parachute we held hands under
as eight year olds. Get in, right beside Autumn, beside
every manic pixie dream girl screenplay written by
a man, beside “bad weather,” beside Allegra’s pomegranate
split into five uneven offerings, beside Allegra herself,
she’s a mother now, as I write this. Get in, television
and all the extinct hardware of the nineties. Montel,
Jerry, Ricki, get in. I’m driving. Get in, exes. Tell me
about life without me, pick the music, thread a threat
through my dumb brown hair, something like you were
always so then let the rain finish your sentence. Get in
rain, but don’t hog the air. I’m running away. I’m tired
of not being a monk. Get in, “You’re So Vain,” and five o’clock
shadows and how hard it is to not talk to my brother.
We went a whole year and a half. Get in, year and a half.
Get in, therapist with the good haircut and bad advice.
You too, Michael Jackson. I’m so sorry you had to be
Michael Jackson. The kind of snow that only fell
when I was young, get in. Or maybe it’s just how
I saw it, get in. I’m trying desperately not to sound cute,
which is, of course, adorable. But, please. Eleven siblings
killed in the camps, get in, next to my grandfather.
Pillheadedness, get in. Pema Chodron’s forehead
and everything behind it, get in. I’m not going to say it
again: buckle up, put a daffodil behind my ear, touch
my shoulder from the backseat, write my will for me,
tell Mary Ann Evans I can hear her humming, it’s fine
except it’s driving me nuts. I’m aware that I’m crying,
get in, sit next to K. The baffling intelligence
of starling and uteri—front seat. I’m only five feet tall,
too many strangers pick me up as a gag, my recurring dream
is that I choose this life again—keep your hands inside
the vehicle. The mandolin I inherited because of genocide,
keep me awake all night. Morgan, I just want to watch your hands
protect a flame. Everybody, I’m sorry, I’m doing my best
not to lean so hard on metaphor I avoid
where I am. This road invented itself. Even though
I get the facial expressions right, I’m a poor listener, get in.
Greasy haired, bucktoothed, gets distracted easily, deodorant
stains, secret crush on Kathryn, come on in, throw your book bag
out the window and tell me your favorite color. Turquoise, get in.
The locker they shoved Gabby into and I didn’t do it, but I didn’t
stop them, get in. The line between where you almost went
and where you’re going: they call that a fork. Funny. Every time
I let the moon roof slide open, but there was no moon, get
in, hurry slowly, slow up, slur your worlds, say you’re sor-
row, admit you loved the uglier twin while arm-in-arm with
the one older by a second. Oh, cherishing, get in, it’s not too
late, get in, the diner never closes, get in, put your feet
on the dash, I’m stopping at a—I can’t believe they call it
this, two commands: Rest! Stop! The game is we rush
into the gas station, you buy me a souvenir I most certainly
don’t need, and I, you. I found this keychain, it blinks
your name, they never have mine, get in. Get in, world,
death, time. I swear I’ll turn this car around if you don’t
hot box us vapid. The day the stars come down and start
walking around like they own the place, God said, I’m quitting,
get in. The game is I spy, the game is who can be quiet the longest,
the game is hold your breath there’s a cemetery. Order me fries.
Order me lungs. Order me around. Order my manuscript.
Here’s a handful of pennies, of ketchup packets, of sky.
I know you’re exhausted, get in, I’m driving you home. Roll down
your window, the forecast is alive. The dog’s kicking in his sleep
which means a brain the size of a lemon can squeeze a whole
dream. Poor poet, get in, you never could say goodbye with grace.
Lucille, get in. Dead family, get in. I want to show you something:
I had no map when I started and now here I am, somewhere real
called loving you, get in.

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