I am three long roads running perpendicular to the interstate.
I am the permanent whispering in the back of your mind
that says you’ve disappointed your parents
with your liberal tongue and too soft heart.
I am southern pride, manufactured and sold
so you can ignore having the highest suicide rate in the state.
I am military families now and military families that never left.
I am the Catholic school that you feel obligated to hate
because of the ex-best friend who bragged
that she drove you down into baggy sweatshirts
and skirts long past your knees that made you hate your legs.
I am the southern politeness that stops you from arguing.
I am thirty minutes from the city
that scares you with her crime rates,
but who you escape to when you can’t handle me.