i try to explain to myself
what it is about this place
that ties my hands
that holds me back.
three thousand miles away
i can still see
the places i left behind
bus stop where a boyfriend left me
playground of bare feet and clove cigarettes
all clasped in the hands of mountains.
but here a strange half-life
i feel the pull, the curve of the earth
exposed to the desperate sky
i am surrounded by styrofoam
trees living in boxes
sick streets that spread too wide.
a city without sidewalks
where for all the fear I've never felt
i still cannot walk alone at night.
i have tried to find the earth again
beyond rusted train tracks and the scream of traffic
found myself staring at a waterfall
not content to listen to its quiet drone
but searching between the droplets
to find the knob that controlled its speed.
and so i retreat inside and lean against this wall
protective, antiseptic, strangling
to listen to a girl already dead at twenty-two
"two decades gone I feel
my life is just beginning"