My Life as a Series of Failed Bipartisan Utopias

We moved and we weren’t sure what to make of it. We were cramped. We were soup. We were legs. We were arms. We were toes. We were tongues.  We were born. Light hit our eyes and it hurt. We were shattered.  On a grey day, or sunny, we felt the plastic hardness grinding pebbles in our ears as the stroller was pushed over bumps and crannies in the sidewalk. We bit our lip and it bled and we were some of us horrified and some of us fascinated by the shrieking mobile face looking back at us as we passed by windows in the stroller. We watched the face and the face watched back. It was hot. We multiplied. We poked our child’s fingers into the warm soft center of the pizza crust and dug out balls that we rolled in our hands and then chewed. Faces come right up to us, offering candy, rubbing our cheeks with rough textured hands, laughing. We continue rolling and chewing, rolling and chewing. Some of us were hungry still, some of us were full. By 10 we were legion. By 20 we were a failed scarred state, territorial lines drawn like webs, interweaving, shifting, but with predictable boundaries. We were already tired of fighting each other, already aware of what the others would say. We fell and heard a cry of another. We were alone and we made more. We grew, and yet there was always space for more. We read books and became them. We tried on personalities like outfits and never bothered to take them off. We dreamed and were afraid and we never stopped accumulating others. We are grown. We are not grateful for the mistakes visited upon us that we might exist. We are a loose commune of simpletons, each hollering for its own best interest. The loudest voice wins but the rest of us are still shouting. We don’t learn but merely become. We don’t change or grow except in numbers.  We are water escaping cupped fingers. We are spore. We are a soapy tang at the back of our throat, fear and anxiety burbling at the surface, intermingled with bliss. We move like the sea moves, undulant and tidal, but less glorious. We catalogue the thousand simple hurts as we sit at the end of the day, farting and laughing, asleep. We don’t go together. Sorrow becomes rapture becomes calm becomes shame becomes envy becomes memory becomes imagining. We take whatever shape suits the moment and then tally up regrets. We shudder away from conflicts or step right into them, try our best not to lose it when it counts. We make more, we make still more. I look in the mirror and barely recognize myself. 

JJ Cromer

Sara Fall (1976) teaches in Colorado and writes poetry and creative nonfiction when her family goes to bed. Her work was recently published in trampset and The Sonder Review. She eats mixtapes for breakfast. 

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