"Cement Shoes"

I go home in scare quotes-
Six hours in a friend’s car across all of Massachusetts, half of New York
To rolling hills, glacial valleys, forests on state land:
Sunken foundations, family graveyards, and old fields
All buried by straight, unnerving rows of pine. Armies of cornstalks
Rank and file, wind- ravaged in farmers’ fields,
Arms up, heads gone.
Cross and re-cross unfrozen creeks that sweep to the Susquehanna

The newest townie spot hops
Smelling of trip I sip mixed drinks and beer. Old home days-
Antlers over the bar, familiar features on faces, Cyprus Hill,
Maki, they call me. How are you? Where have you been? They say
Fat, Ugly, Bitch only echoes from high school

But follows for weeks as a marching tune
The quick version of my story is
Ithaca, Tempe, Mesa, Boston, marriage, divorce
Late night on the Mass Pike, empty gas station, the attendant says
What were you running from?
In my mind is
I wanted to be Lady Lazarus
But the title was already taken
Instead I’m a Phoenix Woman
Burning everything I leave behind

The stigma of my insanity,
Wearing the history of my mother’s face,
Beer-reek, cigarette smoke, teenagers jeering, the razor
Blade, the lighter, therapy, the death of
My grandmother, traps I set for myself
That catch me like a squirrel
To cut and gut for soup

Instead I say, Everything

The past as a pair of cement shoes:
My fucked up family, my callous home town
No matter how I burn, my feet stay the same
Here, in the cow shit wind, in forgotten names, faces from
Memories distant as dream

And in the lucid winter sky at the crest of the hill
As stars spread like snowflakes, ice in my nose
Air in, condensation out.