HORIZONTAL MYSTERY SHIP
when you leave at seventeenrarely homemore than two weeks at a time months, years and decades
can be surprisingly unreliable markers of adulthoodonly once
in the summer of ‘88a recent college gradwide-eyed and wanderlust-fueledmy tonsils required moreI stayed a whole monthonce healed, packed, and in possession of necessary visasoff to the southern hemispherea young pioneer in search adventureand different starsnow, when visiting after a lifetime lived elsewheregrey hairs visibleno matter my effortsI find myselfsliding into a peculiar second adolescence of sorts
driving Dad’s truck
windows down, hair blowing
mile after mile of expansive, wild beauty
a determined cellular homesteader
forever staking a claim in my blood and bonesI want to sneak out to the barplay Space Invaders
sadly, no longer a standard
unlike 1982drink beer, eat junk foodand avoid the endless expectations of being a grown-upLooking back with midlife sensibilities
I realizethose late nights in high schooltenth grade, I believelaser focused, playing Space Invadersprovided a surprisingly valuable education initials entered, quarters stackedprotect the bunkers, defeat the aliensmonitor the horizontal mystery ship with vigilance my peripheral vision unknowingly trained to notice things beyond immediate scope
bonus points pingedwhile friends waited impatientlytwenty more minutes, pleaseunder a waning August moon
only one lunar phase agoI was still my father’s daughtera middle-aged, South Dakota teenagerpretending time actually plays trickswanting desperately to disregard reality one more visit on the calendarone more phone callcheeseburger or ice cream cone one more evening watchingEverybody Loves RaymondM.A.S.H. or Mayberry RFDtwenty more minutes, pleasequarters stacked no longerSpace Invaders
the nearly forgotten teenage relic
of a heartbrokenfifty-somethingfatherless daughter
I am protecting my bunkersmonitoring a new horizontal mystery shippaying very close attentionto what's just beyond my immediate scopejust twenty more minutes, please
WOW! Just wow…for now.
Presently returning from Brattleboro on train after celebrating Chad’s BD.
Always much love…….. J.
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You put into words how I felt going “home” so many times and now have not been back since 2006 when my Mom died. I think it’s time. Thank you.
I understand. I’m always grateful when a writer can distill their experiences and reflect what I’m feeling. It’s often so hard to do that for ourselves. Thank you for reading and responding.
Sure beautifully said and so true. Those feelings will never leave you. And we never want them to leave. Love and Hugs to you, Mary
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just twenty minutes more,
backward and forward.