I have a few requests for you, now that I’ve moved away:
1. My room. Do not change a thing. Do not move the bed. Do not tear down my posters. G-Unit is an inspirational group of gentlemen.
My way worn, well-worn clothes, woven fabrics warming weak, weathered bones – keep them too, right where they are, pants, jackets, shirts, in a neglected pile, my silent accomplices in the making of the careless moments of youth.
Do not repaint the walls.
Do not buy a new desk.
Do not rid my shelf of unread Spanish textbooks
Let me rid my self of the Steinbecks and the Gatsbys,
Do not read my self-
Directed instructions on how to get some being to think I am worth loving, like there’s some secret sauce, a logic to the alchemy,
Do not lead yourself to trash naïve, handwritten lists hidden in desks that start with 1. And end with:
Figure out what music she likes and buy all of it.
2. Your food.
Do not change a thing.
If the gods cooked Schnitzel, you’d see them huddled together over your recipe,
deciphering your chicken scratch, maybe adding mashed potatoes.
Chicken Soup, peppered with parsley and your devotion. I know you say this is not how time works but it’s precisely your soup that was prescribed to injured Roman soldiers. For what heart or bones or spirit broken can its warmth not mend?
Yes, you are alone now, but as petit as your appetite, don’t you dare say it’s too much effort or ask who’s there to cook for?
I refuse to believe a Saturday will pass without knives slicing tomatoes, burnt, cut but somehow still delicate hands twisting open jars that others would ask their man to open, spices and warmth spreading themselves unto the air surrounding your tedium, your hard work, your love for the food, for me.
Call me when the food is ready, as if I am still sat in my room, waiting.
Because mom, listen, if you stop cooking, what smells will I use to find my way back home?
Do not change a thing.
If the years begin to dig their trenches alongside your eyes or in the depth of your brow, as if making preparations for the ultimate battle, nationalize their shovels, imprison them with no trial. Be ruthless, mom, can you even do that?
Do not let the powerful brown of your hair gentrify like Bed-Stuy, or let the corners of your mouth resign into the grimace of retirement homes. When I come back to visit, please, be just the way I had left you.
Mom, do not change a thing.
I couldn’t send that letter.
Because I realized that if selfishness was one letter, and not 11, it would be the letter written by a kid demanding his mom not to change.
To freeze time in anticipation of his sporadic visits, to stop living until the phone rings and I am on my way, and your vocal chords strain under the pressure of their rebirth, and your mind already on its mental path through grocery aisles and parking lots,
just so I can feel like everything is the same as it always was, so I can pretend I never left you in the past as I went about in search of my future.
Thank you for being a willing accomplice in this crime, mom, but I think its time to turn myself in.
So go ahead, throw out my notebooks, rid yourself of your pots and your pans;
let your veins emerge from their shyness, let your eyelids surrender to gravity, let age ravage the fibers of your body as long as your heart – your heart it doesn’t touch. So mom, even if you stop making Schnitzel, I’ll always find my way back home.