“Where were you last night?”

December 30, 2007
By Darina Shtrakhman, Warren, NJ

“Where were you last night?”
mother asked, tone laced with frustration,
when I walked in the door past pink sunrise,
faking calmness, and stood anxiously still,
trying to take root in my own living room
while contemplating plausible answers.
What could I tell her?
“I had gone searching for sunshine.”
I missed the liberating cold
of mid-January nights
and so went off, hopeful,
in search of answers – happiness –
into the below-zero nowhere
of the local playground on a winter night.
It was the same playground where
infinite childhood melodramas
had resolved themselves so painlessly,
back when pouting still solved problems.
When I finally, hours later,
tripped over the seesaw
and fell and stumbled upon answers,
I came back only to find mother
asking more questions.

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