Crape Myrtle -- poetry by Meredith Caldwell
She wanted oak trees
And a room big enough for two
She said over the phone, static wrapping words in a crinkly package,
Easy to forget what’s inside until mold has covered the original color.
She wanted a yard big enough for me to run in
For “the little ones”
But something happened, nothing happened
Everything stayed static for me.
But flipped for her.
I wonder if I am the same
She wanted oak trees but life gave her sickly crape myrtles, lemons
Weighed down by the very thing it was supposed to bloom into
Long limbs tangling and dropping and decaying in the sun
Unable to flower, too sour for lemonade.
Yet everything stays an empty gray, hollowed out
Filled in between the lines but rarely with care
And she wanted a yard big enough to run in
But all that stays is the never-growing crape myrtle
Never growing, dying
She knows me better than I know myself,
But I don’t believe there is a myself out there to understand
She knew me before I breathed,
Cried out and opened my eyes for the first time.
Mother knows best,
But I don’t believe there’s a best out there
I believe humans take their mistakes and cradle them,
I think nostalgia blankets what once burned brilliantly
And suffocates it.
I am not myself, not the best
But I exist anyway, and that’s more than what I believed I could do
I cannot please her if I grow
For there are never going to be oak leaves
So I climb from her tight grip
And hope she can open her eyes for the first time too.
Meredith Caldwell is an 18 year old from Texas. She teaches art to elementary students, sells paintings, and plays guitar outside of school.