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He was older than he felt
but his accomplishments
made him feel like he
was trailing behind.

Middle school said the
next step mattered.
High school said the
next step mattered.
College said your
degree would matter.
Here I am
making your drink.

Hey—did you hear?
I’m selling salvation
in a pamphlet.
Oh—is it clear?
I’m in cheap slacks
on your cheap
doorstep.  

People are dying older.
Politics keep getting bolder.
Can’t afford my prescription refill.
Sign me up for war. Use your
******* blinker. I’m only a season
behind.

He looked younger than
he was, all just because
he didn’t live life hard.
Nothing wrong with that—
some people say it’s lazy,
while eroding their bodies.

I thought that looks
would matter.
I thought wits
would matter.
That a career was just
a ladder
you scaled.
Here I am
managing pennies.
There you are
managing memories.
Hope I can afford a
vacation.

Hey—did you hear?
Your death won’t even be free.
Oh—is it clear?
You’re a tenant in your plot
until the landlord forgets.

People are getting older.
Politics are getting bolder.
Choosing insurance over groceries.
Sign me up for Hulu. Five dollars on
pump five. I’m only a paycheck behind.
  Feb 2019 emilee haman
Madisen Kuhn
i don’t think my mother
ever brushed my hair.
and if she did,
i can’t remember it.
i could lie and say
that i wonder why,
but i know why.
it was because
she was busy with
my sister’s brand-new curls,
busy tending to her own
dark roots and dry ends.

when i am a mother,
i will balance my sons
and daughters on my lap
and one by one
comb through
their soft mops
with patient hands.

they will never wonder
why i left them
to sort out
the knots
on their own.

they will know
i am there
to help untangle
the predestined messes
caused by the wind,
and caused by me.
  Nov 2018 emilee haman
Madisen Kuhn
right now would be a great time to write poetry
it’s past midnight, everyone is asleep
there is a pale blue light coming from the hallway bathroom
my thoughts are lingering in distant, buried places
recalling nightmares as dreams
drawing halos over the heads of humans
but i don’t want to
i am tired
and bored
and afraid my words will smell like stale clichés
maybe i can just dip my toes in reflective black holes
feel the coolness, the deadness
the other world i’m too afraid to fall into
like quicksand or riptides or working nine to five
maybe i can lean in, just enough, to get a glimpse
of what i do not want

i promise i don’t think of you.
  Nov 2018 emilee haman
Madisen Kuhn
i hope you revel in the normalcy
when you feel the sunrise on your skin
walking down a brick path
i hope you breathe in the morning
hold the ordinary close to you
like a life that almost didn’t happen

because for some of us
it didn’t happen

i have never felt the blissful repetition
in being surrounded by what is expected
standing in seasons and looking at skylines
that your mothers and fathers
have stood in and looked at
mothers and fathers who do your laundry
when you come home to a home
that has smelled the same
for the past twenty years

so i hope that you laugh and drink
a little too much
and kiss people who make you feel seen
i hope you listen to bad music
and hug your friends too tightly
and skip your eight a.m. just because
you need slowness and stillness
and a coffee from the corner
and a breath of fresh air
in the morning
on a brick path
with the midday sun
on your skin
  Nov 2018 emilee haman
Madisen Kuhn
sun squares on the hardwood
the morning robins
and you.
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