when you wish you could live in a leonid afremov painting

BY KATE WEXELL (staff writer)

a few paintings by afremov (

i live between three homes i can never inhabit.

my first home smells of vanilla and expectations.

of opportunity and fortune-tellers predicting

i will leave but always belong here. it’s like mismatched

socks and dresses that are too snug. only slightly

uncomfortable and boring like beige paint on the walls.

it tastes of weed and watchdogs, honey and salt, and

week-old gas station donuts in the cabinet next to organic bagels.

i can never live up to the ex-slumdog ethics and i’m

not an escape artist with a piercing whistle.

my second home was built with the bricks of sweden.

of knowing you come from somewhere and nothing and the

smell of cinnamon rolls and sunsets. it is the place where you’re

given a key that goes to a house in nowhere that’s shrouded in

purple wildflowers with no name.

i share the same straw hair, indigo eyes, and scarlet blood as the

town but i have no face. i don’t belong. the land slowly

exterminates me, like it did my mother, through weed-blown

summers and thirty below winters that make your car

stop in the middle of the road.

i share my home’s tongue, its fragrance of dandelions, and

the taste of lemonade. but it is solitude and solace for

wandering thoughts of being unwanted.

the third home is hidden somewhere in the orange cafes,

the emerald flickering ballroom floors, pina coladas, and

bluejay wings, bathed in the aroma of mountain lakes and

sun-glazed trails. my third home is invisible. it is unmade.

it is the sun when your chains are broken and you can

migrate in the light like a derelict moth.

and i’m forever dancing on postcards: formless, shapeless,

an urn at birth that has dissolved into clay and one day

returns to the earth.

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