after Jefferey McDaniel
I’m from worn thin dollar store flip flops in winter and summer dirty feet,
laundromats where half the units are broken and the other half already full.
I’m from the forehead sweat of a busted-tire-stranded single mother,
the overgrown grass snaking up sunburnt legs while taking a shortcut
to avoid the parking-lot-eyes of men getting brown-bag-drunk in the middle of the day.
I’m from gone missing fathers and mothers in name only,
a 1978 station wagon with a dark hole for a back window
and duct taped edges of jagged glass – just another failed attempt at home.
I’m from leftover burgers after the night shift and rerun television until morning,
praying the car to the next station and searching
for quarters on the floorboard to get home again.
I’m from potholed pavement, and every weekly rental could be forever
this time, until the police tell you to leave, motels where you rent a bed
and relax your fists when it’s a woman at the front desk.
I’m from the come-here-baby of strangers and “come here so I can give you something to really cry about” of adults talking with their hands. I’m from don’t look directly at the men,
and maybe they won’t see you.
I’m from a version of the 90s where everything was made in the 70s,
the static of the radio trying to tune in the right song
to sing words we aren’t allowed to say.
I’m from little girls with unbrushed hair and mothers too tired to care.
I’m from falling asleep by the light of a candle and hoping it doesn’t kill us all in the night.
Maggie Wolff is a queer writer with work appearing in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Juked, and other publications. She is working on her first poetry collection, which follows three generations of women as they navigate depression, addiction, and suicide. She is a poetry candidate in the MFA creative writing program at the University of Central Florida.