A Theory on Alternate Routes

 Photos: Madison Carlson

Photos: Madison Carlson

At our old house

I knew the path from

The back door the dog slipped through

Into a frenzy of yelling and worn car brakes

To the large footprints

(Obviously a result of the giants)

Carefully carved into the cement by the gate

And I’d always wondered

How the giants could ever get past it.


With small legs and chocolate colored eyes

I saw my little life morph

Through the bottom of drinking glasses.

My own kaleidoscope,

The warped glass revealed

A temporary backyard

I thought to be permanent.


One thing I did know

With utmost certainty

From logical child reasoning

Is that my legs could take me

Where my heart could not.

Bloody knees matter less

Than the unreliability of

All my sharpie marks

That sat on the door frame

Taken away amidst my own stride.

With the cluttered cabinet of pots and pans

An adult version of Jenga

All packed into the back of our car,

I reversed onto an uneven path.


And now I wonder

If the large stepping stones

Down by Jesse’s house

That my feet carelessly left for the sky

Have gotten smaller

Or if I’ve just gotten bigger.

A refrigerator is comprised

Of sticky smudges and newspaper clippings.

I was once the cause of the smudges

Now tall enough

To write the newspaper clippings.


My life of intelligence

In the fourth grade

Consisted of spelling bees and


Now my universe is filled with words

Some more meaningful than others

That I repeat, again, into the mirror

“Me and you, me or you, you then me. . .”

And I wonder if I, too,

Am now as empty as these hollow letters

Strung together with purpose and intent

Into a carefully crafted sentence

Like a well planned map that leads

To the exact latitude and longitude

Of somewhere yet to be found.


The path I continuously create as

Something close to an adult

Is different than the one

My gatekeepers envisioned

Back in the old Main Street house.

But I know we are told

It is about the journey

Not the destination.


 Photo: Madison Carlson

Photo: Madison Carlson