Narrow Shoulders

We spread from our homes like wildfire. We send pieces of ourselves to every corner of the continent, exploring the possibilities with prying eyes until our limbs reconnect – reassembling our atoms in someplace new. Our tendrils of flame wrap blue fingers around the potential for originality, a groping effort to appear worldly. An afternoon to the big city, nose crinkling at pigs feet in Chinatown – who needs to go across seas when we can drown in our differences right here?

I have always kept my eyes firmly focused out of the windshield, occasionally catching glimpses of yesterday’s prickly reminders in the rear view mirror. Cruise control set, I locked eyes with the horizon and we played the staring game – I blinked first. Desperate to outrun the possibility of becoming stationary, i tethered myself to the road – embracing her curves and crying on her narrow, untended shoulder. I stretched myself to encompass the globe and promised that one day my pieces would all end up in a dimly lit coffee shop splashed with mahogany, and with the addition of a latte and a rainy afternoon, I’d be able to stitch myself back together.

Smothered by the light of July fireflies and the heat of Jack Daniels whiskey, heavy blankets of sleepy snow and the necessity of wood-burning fires sounded like originality to a sun browned Appalachian mindset. Encompassed by a herd of “intellectuals,” I could feel the charred skins of southern accents and mile high biscuits sloughing off my shoulders – to be quickly replaced by the heaviness of black winter jackets and scarves shielding from the sharp pins of wind. My pieces congregated in the hazy Midwest, in a haven of liberality in a tundra of cornfields and red elephants.

Protestors perched at the foot of the Capitol: from hard headed southern men -Nashville, Tennessee- to wheat flecked Midwestern housewives -Madison, Wisconsin- they have dug ditches around their wildfires and are burning themselves back to the dirt. Sharpie-scrawled signs across too many states, the road’s whispers of originality are empty – protestors are at the foot of every Capitol, and Wisconsonites trade the jack Daniels for a six pack- who needs to go across seas when we can drown in our differences right here?

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