I’ve never been very good at remaining congenial

after being left behind. Like when I was 7 and learned

my mother was cheating on my father,

or that time in high school when a girlfriend admitted

she’d kissed one of my friends at a party.

There was always a waiting behind in the bushes moment

following one of these betrayals, where, to avenge hope,

I’d end up springing on those I loved a few words that made

them flop over like the trash. Though I now know

feeling thrown away was really how I felt. What does one

do with a self-esteem that’s as rotten and buried as a dump?

Notice how the “grass grows greener” above it? Well,

we all know how looking at an upside ends up. It goes

something like despite how broken and ugly I am underneath

it’s because of my dirtiness that I can still have moments

where I’m beautiful, where I’m vibrant and tall and dance

in the wind, like a field you walk through to get to heaven.

But it’s deodorizing talk like this that’s made me want to be

sad, alone and left behind pretty much all my life.

Author: Chris Russell

Chris Russell holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Concord, New Hampshire where he follows two paths: a calling as a poet, and an altruistic vocation as an education support professional.