Abandonment

Those who wrestle with Abandonment in childhood

often later in adulthood find refuge in working with others

with abandonment issues.

Over time, they develop a kind of sixth sense

for identifying that unique kind of self-neglect in others.

They become a result of how to not be there for themselves

when they most need to be,

though if they haven’t yet learned to be that dark skill

they may have yet to realize they employ themselves for it.

I was thinking about this last night as I scoured the family

photo album and got reminded of how many times

I’d been abandoned blankly in the air below a parent or friend

or teacher or lover or institution. The way I looked up at them

you’d think somebody must have died.

Shit, I was a good-looking couple of years there, sporting well-

educated sideburns, disciplined and ambitious,

you could have signed me up for a job at a svelte law firm

and somebody would have lawyered my thoughts about being one

with a side of indie vibe, before taking me home.

So why did so many turn me away or turn away from me,

pick one to pass the time with,

says my slightly more agreeable Kerouac alter-ego.

Might it have something to do with the fact that

I’ve said goodbye to others before they could be a good fit?

Or might it have something to do with that time I ran from a friend

who tried to ask me to send him a poem for his new journal?

Who knows how Abandonment heard about the party,

and at this point I’m not sure it really matters,

But I think what does matter is how those who are abandoned

become very good at abandoning everyone, even those  

attention-seeking muckety-mucks Deeply and Often.

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.