Xmas 2018 Meditations

My parents live in an RV;

My head scrapes the ceiling of this

Milquetoast shower with its

Feeble attempt at water pressure.

Bed is a bony pull out mattress

That takes up the whole front room—

Make a mental note to get an

Airbnb next year. We drink

Mediocre coffee out of

Tupperware mugs from the 70s,

Insides deep stained from decades of

Black coffee, and talk about my brother,

Who lives in a fancy house in

Meridian and no one visits him

Because we all hate his wife.

We talk about him like he's trapped in a gulag.

And I think: how did we get here?

Nampa, Idaho is a city of people

Who are fine where they are.

There are lots of cities like this,

And I am always envious of their

Citizenry, who happily drift

Atop the ocean like flotsam

While I flounder about, drowning,

Desperate for a ship to save me.

Everyone's kind and their

Struggles are kept behind

Closed doors. They go to

Country music concerts

And they'll outdrink you

At the dive-iest bar on the

Outskirts of town. You'd

Never know how much they're

Hurting inside.

Decades pile up like

Old newspaper in a

Hoarder house; before

You know it you're sidling

Between the New York Times

And the Idaho Statesman

Trying to reach the toilet.

Perhaps you could sift

Through this garbage and

Toss a few things, but it's your life,

It's all this time invested,

It's relationships and stories

Intricately woven.

How could you get rid of it?

Where would you start?

And how could you

Connect the dots, to find

The moment your family unit

Dissolved, like dry ice

Set out in a spring rain.

My dad asks about my car.

It's fine, tires are a little low.

“Well let's go get a tire-pumper-

Upper,” and suddenly we're off

To a hardware store and

I'm doing mental math to ensure

I have enough money for gas

For the trip back to Portland.

It's a light snow outside that

Doesn't stick. Every building in

Nampa looks like it was

Dropped there without a

Second thought. Function

Without form. It's sad.

My mom crochets everything

And my dad fumbles with

Technology. They watch terrible

CBS procedurals. I miss my

Friends here but can't go

Back to that lifestyle. Too anxious.

Too worried about what they

Think of me. Everyone wants me to

Live where they live, and I want to

Appease all of them, which is why

I never leave the house.

I miss my brother too,

And his little son once

Wrapped up like a

Burrito at the NICU.

But she has pulled up

The drawbridge

And he will go mad

Watching the peasantry

Dancing in the square

From his mansion

On the hill.

Snow falls in gentle flurries.

The soft whirr of a space heater.

A clock ticking. A skittish cat

Staring out the window.

Condensation on the window.

Imagine the quiet, the peace,

That you give up every time your

Mind starts wandering. Your nieces

Are in Arizona and Virginia,

Happy and healthy and in love.

Your extended relatives are

Too steeped in Christ and

Trump doctrine for your


Your parents depart for the

Wood in summer.

And you, all alone among

The magpies.

The drive back is uneventful.

My cat is mad I was gone.

My apartment reverberates

With the frequency of an

Empty space seeking another.

I need groceries but everything's

Closed. Time is slow; there is

Much change, but it is galactic

And out of your timeframe to grasp.

We are the atoms of the universe,

Singularly unimportant but

Part of a greater being, who

Thanks us every day for existing.

I think about this while I eat

Boxed mac & cheese.