Migration Poems - Britney Cox
I told her we would make it here.
It might seem odd at first.
She told me not to talk to the neighbors.
The wind whispered it would constrict my neck.
The mailbox asked me to stop leaning against it.
The neighbors asked where we were from.
Somewhere in upstate Colorado.
You haven’t heard of it.
Well, we are a bit knowledgeable about the world.
How, I ask.
You know, when you have the knife up against your throat.
Yes, I do.
The brick streets asked if I could come explore.
I told them I would come after dinner.
I counted my footsteps against the burgundy.
72 footsteps past the first streetlight.
I should go into the hardware store.
He told me I didn’t need to go in.
He followed with telling me not to listen to others.
The grocery store lights blinked in horror fashion.
I told her that there was no reason to be shy.
I was only someone new.
She said she had been hurt before.
Well, I am not that person.
She asked me who I had been talking to.
I said nobody, of course.
I know it was a woman, she spat.
I see the way you look at light fixtures.
Oh, I’m terribly sorry.
The sheets were pulled back.
My feet entered them.
I grabbed the beaded string on the lamp.
She told me not to listen to her.
I live with her.
I do too.
You know, I used to live in the lighthouse by the beach?
I asked her, where did you get that knife from?
Your wife left it on the island.
You’re scaring me.
You’re scaring me, she said.
Her porcelain arms gripped even harder.
The knife said to grab it while I had the chance.
I swooped it up in a swift motion.
I remembered playing with her in my innocent youth.
I had been played with for too long.
The knife said he knew what to do.
I slashed both piggy tails, right under the tie.
The salt travelled from air to ear.
Please, come save me.
I told it I would.
I always did.
My feet did their job and ran.
The hair on my arms asked to be covered.
We don’t have time.
I feel upon my knees at the water’s edge.
I’m so sorry.
I am late.
It told me I had gotten there just in time.
My hands beckoned to be cupped.
I scooped up the water, took it whole.
You shouldn’t do that, it told me.
You don’t know what’s good for me.
I rose and headed home.
The silence was deafening.
The night had me in its grasp.
Are you sure you don’t want to stay out?
No, I said.
I must go home.
She’ll be waiting at the doormat.
And? She will be there when you get back.
That is what I am afraid of.
You’ve come so far, though.
Exactly, I have to go back.
It said, I haven’t introduced myself.
I said it had.
It knew about her.
That was introduction enough.
It said it was different from the rest.
I told it we had met before.
I ran as quickly as my feet could take me.
I was back at the streetlamp.
She flickered and shined brighter as I drew closer.
I knew you would come back, she said.
I always come back.
Remember that time you didn’t?
What are you talking about?
I had only just moved here.
But you were here last week?
I said, you must have me confused with somebody else.
My big toe found its way through the hole in my shoe.
Where did that hole come from, I asked.
I know it wasn’t there at the beach.
That doesn’t matter, it said.
It continued, it’s time we go home.
I know; I was getting ready to head back.
I know your connections; You were not.
I have been here all along.
I was infuriated.
How dare it know more about me than me?
You don’t know me, I said.
I slammed by foot as hard I could against the brick road.
I heard a crunch.
My brain asked me, are we going home?
I thought I might peak in the hardware store first.
Bad idea, he said.
Do you even know what an idea is?
I have an idea of it.
That’s what I thought.
He insisted, it is time to go home.
Okay, I said.
It’s time to go home.
I limp back down the road.
If I stick towards the center, I won’t fall.
I am drunk.
My hands are calling frostbite.
I shove them into my pockets.
I pull the sides of the trench coat towards my chest.
You only have some miles left.
You can make it.
I gradually make my way up the steps, straddling each one as if my life depends on it. It
does of course. I brush off my feet on the doormat. I reach for the keys somewhere in my
pocket. I can’t find them. They call out to me.
“We’re lost! We’re lost!”
I am fumbling, trying so hard to find them. I hear a rustle within the Dogwood tree
behind me. I look behind me. Nothing is there.
“Nothing is ever there,” my brain says.
My heart pumps faster. Please. I beg. Please stop.
I find something that is not my keys. It is the knife. I manoeuvre it like a bobby pin and
stumble inside. All of the lights are off. Why would she turn them off? The clock blinked 4:55.
The family pictures stare at me while I make my way to the bedroom.
Why are you here?
I don’t know. Please leave me alone.
I fall into the bed with her beside me. I lay the knife on the bedside table. I set my alarm
for six. I close my eyes and roll over to the side facing her back. It’s time to finally go home.