stopping for the paper This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

September 27, 2017

her day is long
her hair is long
her walk home is long
her coat is long
she keeps everything long
“i’m just getting the paper” she tells him
but she isn’t just getting the paper
she’s making her walk home long
to keep her day long because
she keeps everything long to prolong
what is waiting for her when she gets home
except she isn’t really going home, because
that house is not really a home
at home there is warmth
at home there is truth
at home there is happiness
at home there is someone waiting to ask you
how you are
and ask about your day
at home there is love
so no, that house is not a home
but she won’t tell you that
and she won’t tell you why she keeps
everything long
she doesn’t want to bother you or upset you
because no one wants to hear about
the husband
whose anger becomes just a little louder and
a little more frightening as each day passes
or the way she can’t go out without an
interrogation or a curfew in place
even for something as simple as picking up
groceries
or the kids that left at eighteen to leave behind
that house that is not a home
and that father that yelled and hit and drank
when he didn’t want to talk
but she won’t tell you about that
because he yells because he cares
and he hits because he loves
and he drinks because he’s tired
and she stays because she still believes
he can change
and because she’s afraid of what lies ahead
and because he asks her
“where would you even go?”
she doesn’t know the answer
so she stops after work to get the paper
to keep
her day long and to keep
her walk home long
and to prolong
what is waiting for her
when she gets home

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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