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Bad Decisions

Lisa Mann

Over the rocky edge we
followed you
our short legs and tiny hands
trying to keep up

You took us walking through
the deep sand
far from our grandparents
with their grassy lawns,
far from the safety of their homes
and their kitchens full
of comfort and food

We climbed to the tops of rocks
where we could see a trillion stars
and be swept up by the quiet beauty of your dream

We followed you into the
vast deserts, into hunger
and onto the grounds
of asylums
told to smile for cameras
though it did not feel like a celebration

We marched behind you
for the funerals and family gatherings
dressed well, we knew the oath
we had taken
not to tell,
to never ask for food
unless it was offered

Bad decisions
were always the destination
as we marched, as we trusted
or didn’t trust
but they were not ours.

We would eventually
drop your hands
take the tiny hands of
children of our own
lead them away from their fathers

walk them into the lives of other men
walk them through
and jail

They would follow
until they dropped our hands
taking the hands of our grandchildren instead,
leading them where they would

learning the terrible trick
of surviving their regrets.

AUTHOR BIO:: Raised by wolves in the Mojave desert, Lisa was released to civilization at an early age, where she discovered books of poetry by Anne Sexton, novels by Tom Robbins and characters like Bonanza Jellybean. Her poetry has been previously published in Jeopardy, a Western Washington University publication, Howl, and the Desert Writers Issue of The Sun Runner.

March 23, 2018 8:08 am

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