On Leaving a Temporary Home

by Judson Rose

It is time, at long last, to
leave this partial home behind, like
a meal half eaten when the winds
of obligation needed me more
than the breadcrumbs—
it isn’t like the old stories though.
Crumbs make awful trail markers.
It is time, for time has washed
away the scent of long stale nights,
wrinkled wrappers of midnight
toil and water that once ran sultry
down this moonlight amalgam
of what is always taken for granted.
As I ride the lone elevator up
my final moments, as the vomit
stains on the carpet smiles in the shape
of a goodbye, I know that things will be
different. The missing ceiling tiles
are filled in with furious memory,
and with a certain fondness too.
This garden of earthly turmoils has taken
to greening as of late, but tainted
waters turn green, too. Knowing
this like is the way wine stops
tasting so terrible in a young mouth,
as bitterness replaces the frolic,
the ignorance, the bruised-elbow
adolescence we used to know. I don’t want
to trade grape juice for bitterness, or
tacos at three a.m. for taxes—but
I have little say in the matter.
Such is the price of wisdom.
I want to stay in the comforts
of dirty laundry, salty with memory,
teeming with sex and alcohol and
transcendence—but this is a
celestial comfort. Like so many
things, it is already dead.
As I clear my room, I realize
how betrayed I can feel by a place.
I tell myself “it is called growing up” only
to make myself believe I have won. But
that is like communion wine
and can only fool me for so long.

Familiar things are beginning to feel
borrowed again—but then again,
isn’t everything?

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