Wasteland hometown. Desolate
In the gouge between “back then”
And “now”. There is no future here.
I am cleaning my childhood bedroom.
I am thumbing through the stack
Of old birthday and holiday cards
I’ve saved so long just to salivate
Over sweet words from now strangers.
I find rocks in my drawers; a collection
Of every stone I threw that hit no birds
Every stone that hit your windowpane
The suicidal summer nights I begged
You to return and take my place.
I find every gift ever given to me
That I’ve kept for so long, by now
I don’t remember who gave me them
And for what reason. But I still search
Knowing my childhood fingerprints are here
Somewhere in the seashells and erasers
And I want them back. The tiny hand dipped
In pink wall paint pressed onto the inside
Of my closet. It’s funny how I was the skeleton
In the closet for so long. But now all that’s there
Are my outgrown clothes, translucent orange 
Pharmaceutical bottles, and my mother’s handprint
Above my own. Neither familiar, but stained
By a memory of us fighting for ten entire years.
I went red-faced in my room and my mother 
Threatened to send me to a psych hospital.
It’s funny how I almost wished she had.
It’s funny how it’s kind-of too late now.
Nothing is worse than packing and unpacking 
A childhood bedroom, my younger self
A spector watching from behind my eyes.
Back then I dreamt of the future and now
I only have what’s left in front of me.
My future is an amputated arm;
All that remains is the phantom limb
And the ghost of its severing
And the  pain it took to let go.