Where I’m From

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This is a poem (basically prose at this point) about my hometown, Setauket NY. It’s a suburb on Long Island.

A circular, sideway-less block spotted with colonials and ranches.
Pictures of suburban perfection, Levitt’s wet dream.

Thin women with thick accents, SUV’s, Starbucks Gold Cards and gym membership discuss summers in the Hamptons, or far more serious matters like Botox and LASIK.

Train whistles calling worn-out commuters out of the bubble and into the inferno, sixty miles to the city that never sleeps. The funny thing is that these people need sleep, they’ve worked pasked the brink and numbed themselves to subsist on a paycheck and a façade.

Strong black coffee and soft white bagels, the best on the whole damn planet.

There’s so much open space but never an open parking space, so many open promises but never an open opportunity.

There’s competition, hidden behind mask of camaraderie that blankets the town, feigned material success, keep up and pass the Jones’s at all times.

I thought I was so done with everyone thinking I was a JAP. Or a psychic.  Or a Jappy psychic. Damn it, midwesterners, I’m not even Jewish. But in this short two weeks I’ve turned 360 surprising, poignant degrees.

It’s been a short time since I left the Island, and I feel the roots weighing me down, pulling me back to the comfort and stereotypes and I once longed to break free from.  I thought I was prepared to leave behind this sixty-mile stretch of contradiction, confusion, and spectacle.

I thought I was, like a certain old sport of mine with similar roots, a boat on the current, but bearing ceaselessly into the future rather than the past. But I’m not.

A yearning for home attacks my body like a fever. It’s the butterfly in my stomach that won’t go away with the rest of the newly-metamorphasized. I  can’t say I expected this.

I know one day, that little homesick butterfly will take flight and learn to fully accept the wonderful, exciting new surroundings where it now resides. But, for the present moment, I’ll be looking into the night for my green light across the sound.

Or just a really good bagel.


2 thoughts on “Where I’m From

  1. Your piece was one of my favorites for this assignment! And I still love this.

    Just wondering: did you take out a few things from the original draft? Wasn’t there something about thinking if bagels are better elsewhere, we’re wrong? And wasn’t your last line something about not being [something] and long island mediums (though I see you moved the psychic part the middle)? The last line really blew me away when you read it.

    Anyway: damn Sarah, you can write.

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