adventure, 1

i tell my mother i will be
sleeping under the stars
and carrying everything i need
on my back as i travel
through forested mountains

she blinks at me

having slept beneath
a thin thatched roof
both stars and rain
peeked through

having walked for miles
with meager rations
slimmer than anything
i could imagine

having built cookfires
morning, noon, and night
for years of her life

having worked decades
for a plot of land
on which stands
an insulated house
with a sturdy roof
and a shiny kitchen

she wonders how
she can have a daughter
who has all these things
at her fingertips
and instead of holding on,
looks for ways to recreate
a diluted make-believe
version of those old hardships

she is breathlessly incredulous
at how people in this wealthy country
invent ways to subject
themselves to suffering

and i don’t quite know
how to explain it either
except that it feels good

to learn these things
about survival, however
contrived the experience

to step away from the
inescapable artificialities
of modern reality

to embrace for a time
cycles of waking and sleep
more attuned to the sun and
moon than to money

and when i return
to the world of electricity
on demand and water through faucets
and the ability to talk to
everyone and no one all at once
i have a better understanding
of the benefits
and the costs

i tell her that
i never forget
i could not do these things
if not for all she’s done

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