I apply sudden brakes when I am following
too closely the route my parents have taken,
never straying far
from the epicenter of suburbia,
clinging to one place in case happiness came
searching for them.
Nothing really changes, only the slow
evolution of names on facades that will remain,
first bookstore, then bank, now bakery.
Neighbors come and go, move beyond reach
while others wait to claim lives abandoned
in mortar and brick.
I pry open doors to face chilled silence,
arguments reheated at the dinner table.
And each morning, while scraping away
yesterday, I halt in my tracks as my father stares
back from a fogged mirror, mid-life stalled
in the traffic of roundabout routines,
past due notices, promises I never intended to keep,
retraced this route so many times,
know all the signals and signs, learned
which to ignore and which to heed, racing to beat
the yellow light. Along the highway, exits invite
departure. Tonight I take
the long way home.
Sarath Reddy is a physician whose poetry has been shaped by his experiences as an father, physician, and Indian-American. Sarath’s poetry has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Off the Coast, and Please See Me. His work is forthcoming in Hunger Mountain, and Poetry East. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with his wife and three children.
Edward Michael Supranowicz is the grandson of Irish and Russian/Ukrainian immigrants and he grew up on a small farm in Appalachia. He has a graduate background in painting and printmaking. Some of his artwork has recently or will soon appear in Fish Food, Streetlight, Straylight, Gravel, The Phoenix, and other journals. Edward is also a published poet. His other works featured in ACM are Heart Roulette, Lego Legs 1, Bitter Sweet Melody, Intersecting Intersections, Melee, and Inner Conflict Four.