I know it all so well

by James Diaz


We pull into the motel
it is fall here in the south
and I am so small

we are in-between,
you know what I mean?

Pops is newly clean
fresh out of rehab
and momma, well,
momma is momma –
a dark cloud settling over us all

the place has roaches and it’s a game you see
I count em
then I run around the parking lot chasing leaves
as they scatter down
in darkest wind

people are sat up on crates
by doorways
lit by sadness and television
and not a one smiles at me
but I know it all so well by now

how happiness is dangerous to people like us
I turn around and my folks have the worry on their faces
what comes next?
I’m too young to know
but not too young to care

I don’t want to go inside just yet
because out here anything can happen
but in there –
oh, I know it all so well.



James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2016), All Things Beautiful Are Bent (Alien Buddha, 2021), and Motel Prayers (Alien Buddha, 2022). They are the founding editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. Their most recent work can be found in Wrongdoing Mag, Thrush Poetry Journal, and Sugar House Review. Instagram: @jamesdiazpoet.

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