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Crape Myrtle -- poetry by Meredith Caldwell

She wanted oak trees

And a room big enough for two

Grandchildren

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.

Everything changed

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

Static.

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,

Spoke,

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.

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