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by Paige Santos

81 miles north

From a familiar front porch

In a gloomy wind tunnel town

Where no one seems to stick around


Tell yourself you belong here

The overcast sky’s crystal clear

Tell yourself you’re satisfied

Cross your fingers, tell a lie


81 miles north

From the place where I was born

Where I crawled, walked, ran, drove

But nowhere feels like home


A guest in the walls I painted

A suitcase never fully unpacked

What if I can’t take it?

What if I don’t want to go back?


Can I hide here under the covers?

I’m tired of acting my age

Can you check my closet for monsters?

I’ve been terribly afraid


Can I lay here in the grass

And watch all of the stars

And listen to the cars

As they’re speeding past


Orion keeps careful watch

With an arrow nocked

The cicadas sing me to sleep

And so I drift into my dreams.

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