To Be Philadelphia

I am from Philadelphia,

Though I was raised in her suburbs

(Well, that is mostly true. There was the time

I lived outside of Sacramento too)

But in her suburbs there was never the excitement

and the necessary discomfort of what home should be:

and what is Philadelphia.

I never knew her well, you know;

It wouldn’t take much to get me lost

Walking out of Jim’s, onto South Street,

Onto who knows where without

Someone to take me there.

I went alone a few times,

To meet friends who also called it home:

I went home to meet my friends

And in that moment it was their home too.

It’s always our home when we are there,

When we slip our shoes along the cobblestones

And breathe the air of familiar—

But not too familiar, not yet anyways.

I had this idea of moving

Of finding an apartment and just being there,

But I am afraid. I am afraid of what

Philadelphia may show me about myself,

and that maybe she may show me

That I am not enough.

I can’t live in that apartment in that life

And make art and meet a hundred thousand people

In the galleries and coffee shops and parks—

I can’t move there and let it be home

Because it was never really home

Though that is what I say—

Because that it easiest, that is what people know—

And it isn’t really true.

Maybe—maybe one day.

But not this day or the next because

I am afraid to move away from home,

Yes, the suburbs—

The not quite-as-cool kid sister that is me.

But when I grow up, I want to be Philadelphia.

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