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Independence Day

Two hours
in the blazing sun
Driving through desperate towns
with strange abrupt names
and St. Anyone churches
I focus on the yellow lines
winding around dusty curves
farmers markets closed til fall
diners with hand-painted signs
yellow lines and broken mile markers
Thinking about yesterday
in the front yard
of someone I barely know
While kids with sparklers
ran around unaware
of tomorrow
And I sat clutching another glass
of cranberry juice and vodka
Terrified.
While nine babies cried inside
that may as well have been 500
Their parents talking about
baseball and fireworks
While I wondered
how I'm going to pay the rent
or finish painting my apartment by myself.
During these lean years
Scraping together enough change from the jar
to get a cup of coffee
or a gallon of gas
But I never expected in this time of cutting back
to go without
love, friendship, proximity or understanding
Things that got sold off
when the ink dried on the papers
and I traded away my right of membership
to this clique of crying babies
For peanut butter sandwiches
cold empty apartments
and holding this glass of liquor
on a lawn chair
in the middle of the suburban scrawl
that is the 4th of July
As an accidental tourist.
Then waking the next morning
fireworks pounding in my head
mascara smeared pillow
where I passed out
against dreams of Beethovan's love letters
and mathematical equations that I seem to repeat
over and over
Crawling out to my hot car
Driving two hours back
through nothing
to nothing
away from everything I never wanted
and almost was.

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