a poem: epps

On the way to Louisiana, possibly in the town called Epps, there was an old abandoned barn with airplanes inside. Driving by it once or twice a year for a decade will imprint it in your mind. Especially when you have nothing else. This was before smartphones see. So I watched the scenery and made up stories. About myself, leaping along the telephone wires or about that barn and the sad old lonely woman who lived there.

I was about fourteen, I think. Somewhere in those really awkward years between childhood and almost womanhood. For some reason I wanted people to feel sorry for this woman who was old and poor and lived in a barn with old airplanes. I thought people were really mean and would abandon her, and through my story they would be compassionate. It was also some kind of atonement for my own indifference. I too had heard the stories of kids who were young and had created businesses that helped poor people. I had the acquired guilt of being too young to make change on my own and no idea of how to organize any effort outside myself.

I saw my apathy as an indictment, instead of affliction. I still don’t know what it was. That’s why I go to therapy. To rid me of old barns and old women.


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