The Children's Prison
Some days make it more real than others.
It's always there, the children's prison, evident in the hardest lines in your face.
Brittle as those stubborn grey hairs you so diligently pluck until you give up and let them spew like the weeds and cobwebs that consume the yard where you continue to threaten to host another barbecue.
They've rated Portland a stressful city because it is so "starved" for sun. Yet roses thrive there, and your heart longs for its subdued, nurturing light.
Even as a child you hated sun and heat. It only made the nastier children smell worse. Now they are in skin cancer wards or terrace bars in Tempe, sitting under the misters and comparing ill-begotten tattoos and piercings.
There will always be a children's prison, until the day you fall in the desert. It is always there, like some memory you should have let go but have pickled in an airless steamy jar and put on the shelf to swelter as it is teased by beams of mocking sunlight.