We crossed paths in a bar in Chicago
Like what two people from Midwestern towns
tend to do. We are monarch butterflies
resting our wings on the same flower petal.
We sip pink colored nectar from our straws
and you tell me stories from your life: how
in high school you were either studying or
pushing shopping carts at the local Walmart
tiny loose wheels sometimes lodged in potholes.
The older people frowned and spoke curtly
bland aprons and uniforms covered
unpleasant histories written on their skin.
You were raised in Missouri, but
Chicago had promises of pretty neat colleges
a degree from a nifty school meant getting away
from your lazy peers – their eyes couldn’t traverse
terrains of a paragraph. They chose to stay
amongst the empty houses melting into dying grass.
Some friends had babies early, parenthood was
their accidental vocation. Some took a liking to heroin
you saw their flesh wash away from snow water.
Some were content to fill plastic grocery bags
video games and weed already bought happiness
You weren’t the most talented girl, but you knew
you weren’t going to live your life walking between
aisles of cardboard and cans. Your town was
going to be a leaf skeleton discarded after consumption.
You were into anime at the time, and you’d watch
a school boy walking down a street in Tokyo
eating a strange shaped pastry, past neon signs
complicated writing glittering and bursting with lights.
You knew that life could only get much better.