ode to twenty

Coming home is a lot like
driving down roads with houses that don't change; like
sleeping in worn out sheets and
wasting too much of your parents' gas.
The devil town
sheds your layers, until you are once again
that same, selfish, sixteen-year-old-you
blissfully unaware of the woes of
the big, bad world;
over confident and under-prepared
for the lands that breathe outside of
your hollow city walls.

You can bask in the golden sun and
swim in the pretty lakes and
ignore the permeating silence between you and your old best friends and
pretend  or at least entertain
the idea that
you could be content with staying here forever.

But your parents already have dreams of you
finding home in faraway places.
The silence will start to feel too loud.
No matter how many times you tell yourself otherwise,
sleeping with your ex-boyfriend will make you
feel like shit. Always.
The gods sprinkle chances for you like
stardust in the sky;
staying put will do nothing to advance
your soul,
your spirit,
your life.

Home is now
the new city; New York City —
which has stolen my optimism and
(sometimes) swallowed me whole

But it scares me and excites me and pushes me
to grow into better, more cunning
versions of myself
which I once dreamed of becoming
from the comfort of a twin-sized bed
in a small Midwest suburb.

The gods and the angels
have guided me to
brave new heights
With friendly faces and kind hands
who have filled me with
an indescribable light,

I am a rolodex of those
who have touched my heart.
Their stories are
forever embedded as
patches on my soul,
The nightlight for the
days when
there was everything to be afraid of.

I am content that I have climbed,
to witness strange moments and unfamiliar faces,
foreign streets and dirty bathrooms.
I am older, slightly wiser,
more tired, less hopeful,
more accepting, less bitter,
better at talking and listening,
at giving rather than taking,
so much closer to tasting my dreams.

You dared me to put that foot out the door,
to ditch the safety net of oblivion
to roam in fields
and bodega aisles
still undiscovered.

Here I am,
seven thousand days and back,
happy birthday they sing.

And for the first time
in my life,
I find myself with
nothing more
to wish for.


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