your hair quickly faded to gray,
lines deepened around your eyes,
a hollow chuckle & brittle grimace
replaced a genuine laugh & smile
because you have spent decades
rewriting history to align with
your masochistic moral code.
in the exhaustedly edited version,
you sacrificed your health,
happiness, & sanity for your family
to prosper, an ocean away from
the place you called home.
in reality, you were trying
to outrun ghosts from another life
with every dollar made,
every promotion secured,
& every car bought.
while you inherited her smile
(orthodontia straightened yours)
your eyes are wider & world-weary
(hers are narrow with bourgeois smugness)
you have his bullshit-detecting (rejecting) nose
(hers seeks out malleable sycophants)
the family resemblance is skin-deep
(like the way she cares about people)
you value people based on their character
(not how they can be of service)
it’s unspoken – you don’t care what people think
(she screams it constantly, proving the opposite).
blasting my song
while dancing home
after work on a Friday.
sinking into an ice bath
when the a/c’s broken on
a scorching summer afternoon.
slowly drifting to sleep
in your arms every night.
I never wished for
(bursts of) euphoria —
there is nowhere to go
but down from (rapturous) highs.
absent was an orchestral score
dramatizing conflict’s resolution
when I realized that
happiness was not a goal —
I found it in unexpected