I am suspended.
The seatbelt cuts my high-school freshman neck,
severs it clean. Released, my head floats above.
Mom’s head drifts too, somewhere downstream.
We are on separate vacations — from her past and my present.
Mom’s is long gone by the time I grab my own head and go.
“The family fell apart,” you say while making a new one.
I want to yell, but Mom’s ears are stuck on a riverbed,
while doctors try to cure my case of just-a-neck;
“It’s common, I’m afraid,” the doc says, breaking the news.
The drugs are supposed to help with the pain.
I see him at my friend Logan's wedding,
standing with his girlfriend, soon to be wife.
So I abandon someone kind for a wild man.
Deep down, I can tell, we both need to yell: It’s your fault.
I feel warm, fully anchored in my seat beside him when I visit, before we fall apart.
It’s quite the set-back, my therapist says.
It’s going to shit with men because I lost the keys.
And I am still searching for them, the ones to our original car,
a soft top; I rip it open to see my guts still there, baking all these years.
You abandoned the machine and left me to rust in the sun.
I need you to remember, so we can get back in.
You drive; I sit taller now but will slouch to be realistic.
Let’s replay our roles, but end it a better way, please.
Please help me do this so I can finally stay in love.
I am a child.
I pirouette and dip,
In a pale pink tutu at the father-daughter dance.
Searching, I step out in front, alone. I bow.
You don’t remember the dance; I’ve forgiven you.
Mom holds me after the show.
You should be proud, she says.
I am. I am. I am. I am floating.
That's what I always thought love felt like.
It's more like warm milk, my therapist says.
Same time next week?
Thanks to my friend, Adrian Bonenberger, for editing.