The same place

Every place is the same place. The same feathered wind through the same front doors. It’s the same pavement and the same washed-out hopscotch board drawn by the same lonely girl and her imaginary friends. It’s the same growl of traffic from the interstate, the same rhythm of rush and rumble. The sky is the same, the dirt is the same, the raw stares from strangers the same. They are the same green lawn chairs, the same kinked garden hoses, the same bird houses hammered into trees.

He walked in the same shoes as he did last week, will wear them again tomorrow. Boiled kale, boiled cabbage, all just wet, green leaves that stain the plates. The poverty is denser, less apologetic, and the anger is more pernicious. The television sets are the same. Here, some of them are outside, on lawns, between porches and graveled driveways, bleak blank faces, stripped of wires and tubes.

He could hear the hum, but not the words. He knew them already, knew them well: This is who we are, this is who we always were, this is who our children will be. And you’re the same as we are. Welcome home, boy. Every place is the same.

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