Small Town

You live in a city

but spend your life telling people

you come from a small town by the sea.

The church there had no steeple;

no iron cross rusting in the salty air.

You were happy there. 

You live in a city; you flew

there in chains.

You grew too much. We all grew

too much. The soft grey of daylight rain

forgotten. The shimmering sea

furrowed into a frenzy.

You live in a city, and all the faces

you know don’t smile

when you find that place

on a map and say ‘my God, it’s been a while.’

We are all unhappiest alone, so why should they care

if you were happy there?

You live in a city. You don’t speak about

that small town by the sea. How ironic.

The temple you built around

it crumbled. Nothing platonic

About it now.

You wonder how,

because never in your small town did you long

for the city. But

all the wrong

turns you took were guaranteed. Shortcuts

that never let you go back,

through all the nights you longed to go back.

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