LORENA PARKER MATEJOWSKY
I Hate I Love Orlando
I hate I love Orlando those weeks in winter
when the small house we can never leave
looks less lousy at five o clock as the sun
is six inches from long leaf pine lines and
the kids appear as aching angels on Instagram.
I hate that stretch of Hwy 50 with its cinder block
pawn shops and couped cars on their
weekend way to a rundown bus race in Bithlo.
I hate I give our guests directions to
skirt a city that shames me. How a registered
sex offender moves the neighbors into
knocking on doors and knowing each other.
At least the hard grey rain running all summer long
made lightening breaks for letting loose children
on red metal scooters. Find out how fast
they can fly back dodging love bugs and dogs.
I wish we could give the HOA’s green space
back to God before we go because it saved me.
My blessed moments by the pond and yard otters.
Flocks of storks finishing the fish that driest winter.
And skink pileated woodpecker gopher tortoise
days for me redeemed my suburban sacrifice.
I hate I love this city made my heart as soft
as a plush Shamu souvenir asleep on the kids’
bottom bunk. It’s amazing I did not become ashes
buried beneath tall purpled beauty berry some bird
gave me that year I wandered her woods after
work, marking minutes until the next Xanax would
settle the sinkhole I somehow found ribboned
around my ribcage. I had to hold an old dream
there until it died. Mom, I’m never coming home.
I hate it. I’m sunk in suburban quicksand and the kids
are coming in with me. Maybe you can pull
us out with a strong palmetto stem. We will shake
the sod off and head west back to our Texas before
the big box stores pave over the pecan shells and
all my memories. Oh well dinner’s almost done and
I have a husband to take care of but no one to make
the big bed for me before I drag my old bones in
from late life grad school. It’s getting so heavy to
hold on to everyone’s hearts and not drop something.
Good night sleep tight and say goodbye to the sky
that sings Austin County to sleep. I know a coyote is
yodeling her yarn across the fall fields while the
windows grow dark. Over here I’m holding on to
a husband who runs away every day on a tired
treadmill. Look it’s late and past time to place my
back to him in bed. I’m turning in. We’ll both go
somewhere far away from all the old orange
groves. In our dreams we are waving good bye
to blue water and welcome centers. So happy
to head out together again in our heads, leaving
youth behind in Houston. Anxious about amusement
parks and proving something under summer storms
and sunshine. As bowed as two tall palms can bend.
I hate how much I love it.
LORENA PARKER MATEJOWSKY teaches is a recovering Texan who lives in Orlando with her husband and three children. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Poydras Review, Texas Poetry Calendar, Rise Up Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal and Mothers Always. She is also an MFA Creative Writing student at the University of Central Florida. She tweets about poetry at @loriematejowsky.
READ AND LISTEN
Issue 11 Playlist