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"I’ve only ever lived in suburbs" by Holly Pelesky

With striped lawns and fences and barking dogs and lost cat posters on lampposts. I’ve spent weekends pulling weeds and evenings walking, some years pushing a stroller. Cordial hellos. You get the idea, but I’m not finished. Here where they pretend concrete is art—cul-de-sacs and speed bumps, medians and roundabouts. Someone paints their door bright then someone else follows suit but in another hue. There are kitschy flags about holidays and seasons or sometimes wine, advertising alcoholism as a worthwhile pursuit. There are wreaths on doors, welcome in curly fonts, all screaming personality! The sound of rolling trash bins is music every Thursday morning, or at least an alarm clock, everything is pulsing in that methodical way. We don’t know how much money the neighbors pull in, it’s in the same ballpark probably but some winters it’s a class war between snowblowers and shovels, sometimes we’d leave our driveway uncleared hoping for some benevolence. Once I tried to move my kids into the city proper, where we could walk somewhere beyond a park, a gas station. I want the trees, the forest, but that will have to come after the kids are grown. My ex said downtown was too far, he didn’t want to drive them to me there. He might have said more but I didn’t bother to make it out above the endless drone of a weed whacker.

Holly Pelesky writes essays, fiction and poetry. She received her MFA from the University of Nebraska. Her prose can be found in The Normal School, Okay Donkey, and Jellyfish Review, among other places. Her collection of letters to her daughter, Cleave, was recently released by Autofocus Books. She works as a librarian while raising boys in Omaha.

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