My brain says: Yesterday, when you were young everything you needed done was done for you. now you do it on your own but you find you're all alone what can you do? you and me walk on, walk on, walk on cause you can't go back now.
I don’t make it so far before I am crying over the sweet Hawaiian roll sandwich I am folding choosing which sunny flower sticker to put on her lunch bag thinking I just want to sit down to dinner with my parents or something thinking I swear to god I was unpacking my lunch on a cafeteria table about a week and a half ago I don’t know where I am or how I got here and how old I am or if this is a really poorly run simulation I take a pill so my face doesn’t hurt and it makes me want to tell everyone I love them and I take two pills to make me go to sleep and I take three pills to kill the infection and I don’t eat even though I am always hungry my body keeps going.
I set her lunch in the fridge and spend a moment crying on the floor just heaving it all out spitting tar and garbage onto the linoleum a bit wondering how often my neighbors hear me doing this since I can hear Kim Kardashian on their TV sometimes I think they know I cry into my refrigerator, I’m not sure.
I pad down the hall to press her door open and put my head inside just enough to see the only thing I know is completely real because there is nothing on this earth that is more real than the flesh I grew in my own body that has now grown its own whole curious brain a nervous system and a big bowl of questions every day and I think that’s the only reason I keep playing along because she’s the only thing that feels really real to me the only thing I don’t want to blink next to cause if suddenly I teleport fifteen more years like last time I will be so goddamn fuckin’ mad that I didn’t get all those seconds holding her tiny face in my hands and telling her you are good you are good you are good.
Leah Boxley writes poetry and narrative nonfiction and, unfortunately, can’t stop herself. She co-founded and currently admins Blackwick Writers Guild based out of Boulder, Colorado, which fosters and supports LGBTQ+ writers of all genres and skill levels. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her daughter, Emma, who is the coolest thing she’s ever made.