Sometimes you want to sit across from your mother,
across her kitchen table & occupy the same space

as the dust cloud of white flour, the pie crusts,
the Vaseline glass, the vineyard in the wallpaper.

The scones—you know—are in the oven.
Maybe it’s the homesickness. Maybe it’s the ache

of growing up. But here you are, feeling small.
You confess, you didn’t expect to feel this distance

so deeply. But the state lines dig into your skin—
socks at the end of the day.

When you were just a kid, slumped over, hopeless,
bent under childhood’s unfairness & a backpack

stuffed with clothes, comic books, & the intent
to set sneakers to pavement—you remember this—

your mother knelt beside you on the tile,
palm cupped against your tearstains,      I won’t stop you

from running away      but you know I’ll miss you
if you go.      She folded your shoulders into her strength

& you cried out your clenched brow, your balled fists.
Here, after twenty more years, is it so different?

You Remember This by Ian C. Williams

Photo used under CC.