The Family I’ll Never Have Again


Emily Maginnis, 131 TESS

Mom doesn’t answer my calls,
Then I remember the time and stop trying.

I ask Dad about his day,
The details are many but I only catch some.

Sister says the trees out back are bigger,
I imagine that and smile.

Brother has mostly stopped texting,
Only sends memes when he sees them.

I sit next to Teacher at our shared desk,
She asks me what the word “sake” means.

I lay in my bed, in my house, alone.
My thoughts sound a little like memes and a little like “sake.”

Faces and moments blend together,
I get restless and forget how to step.

When this happens, I go to see The Family.
The Family I Will Never Have Again.

The Family is loud,
Really loud.

The Family exposes your secrets whether you’d like it to or not.

The Family drinks, tips its many heads up and downs gallons of Hong Thong, beers, and falsities.

The Family never lets you sleep, barely lets you think.

The Family makes you reassess every choice you’ve made since you’ve been here.

Sometimes you cannot stand The Family.

But even with its fangs bared and hair on end, The Family sits down and listens.

Or maybe it doesn’t listen so much as reverberates. Words bounce off The Family and into your face almost as quickly as they leave your mouth.

Because The Family’s Mom misses its phone calls, too.

The Family has forgotten what words mean, and even more importantly what they don’t mean.

The Family cries on bike rides, laughs at what’s not funny, and wonders where home really is now.

So you down the drinks, throw punches, get sleepy, hug too long, and lay in The Family’s bed until you have to go.

And then you go. Back to the memes. Back to “sake.” Back to the thoughts of the growing trees.

When you’re here, you need The Family.

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