She was always warning me to stay
or not leave.
I was always striking out at first
or maybe third.
New freckles on my shoulders, 
me thinking leaving and not staying could be different.

She was always asking if I needed a ride around the corner
or to Dad's.
I was always pulling the grass up by its roots with the weeds
or the flowers,
wondering if I could go just a minute faster alone 
on the side walk with my flip flops.

She was always doing the dishes
or working late.
I was always leaving the dishes in the sink
or on the table. 
Minivans in every driveway, me thinking these little rows of 
houses were hell.
She was always re-folding my pants in boxes I had already packed
or planned to.
I was always packing with no where to go
or stay,
headphones on and blaring, planning for bright lights and buildings taller
than the oak out back.
She was always going through a tunnel on the phone
or catching a cold.
I was always out of money
or friends.
Graffiti on the wall of my building, nothing but a bed and a hotplate inside-

She was always sending money
or boxed macaroni.
I was always tucking my hair behind my ears like her when I saw her calling
or remembered to.
Sirens at night still keeping me up, me wondering about the verb to acclimate.

I was always missing the bus
or train
or her.
She was always going nowhere
or somewhere
but not here.