A carcass, a carcass in the street near the park where I grew up. The choices I’ve made and not made and the way they look at me with their eyes. The heavy crush of disappointment that shows in the sigh as we pass someone who might be on the Right Path. The stomach squished full of the feelings I can’t and the muscles that can’t run so fast anymore. The way I try. I sit on a wall and idly kick my legs against the tough gray stones, scratching my soft baby skin that pokes out from beneath my homemade skirt. I’m high on the wall, posing for a picture with my tall tall tall sunflower. I did a good job growing it. The blue ribbons at the county fair for crafts and art and knowledge about guinea pigs mix me with her hopes and unfulfilled experiences. The crust and stiffness that naturally comes from a life of holding on so hard. The hands that hurt from gripping the tricycle handlebars so hard and for so long that when you take them away, they relax into that shape, the little metal safety situation covered in rubber and gendered paint colors and shiny foil tassels like the ribbon grandpa used to use to scare away bluebirds from the blueberries. The light reflecting on prize winning roses and playtime in the sprinkler and being afraid to say that I accidentally hit Kerry in the stomach with the badminton racquet. The vein that pops out of my father’s forehead when he is trying so hard to be the perfect man to take care of everyone, the vein that I inherited that snakes a different path down my face and mostly shows when I’m smiling so hard. Is that progress? The semi-truck of expression and the clinking of generations prior that has for so long been unspoken, that wagon I will pull behind always until I can set it free.


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