How I Got Here
(aka Epic Road Trip: Part Duex, aka Tour de Friends, aka Texas to Detroit)

From Portland
Through the rainbowing heat
and Fort Worth
where my grandpa met the pretty nurse
who became my grandma,
and the mother of my father.

and the church that
everyone is allowed in
because it is sacred but not private.
Where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
(the other King of Memphis)
gave his final speech in.

From hugs of friends who knew me
Before I became the person I am now
and hugs from my mom
and other people’s moms

and the old woman
I met on the track with my grandpa
who lost her friend of 40 years
that morning

She taught us
that hugs trigger something
In your brain that is good for you.


Solicited Advice to Yourself a Little Too Late

Don’t forget to call your dad back.

Your sister doesn’t hate you.
She thinks that she doesn’t
deserve your love.

Always put sports first.
There will always be time
for partying after.

Your mother is everything
and everything
but you will realize
she is not Superwoman,
a little too late.
She will forgive you.

You will never be more beautiful
or more ugly
than you believe yourself to be.

Don’t forget to call your dad back.

Your sister is hardest on you
because you love her more than the rest.

You will be a successful teacher.
And you will plan to make each year
your last
each Christmas.

Your sister is mean to you
because you continue,
despite her cruelty,
to respect her
more than she respects herself.
One day you will be 
the best of friends.

Believe him
in love
when your dad says to you
in anger:
One day when I’m dead,
You’ll be sorry.

—Brandi Kruse, Portland, OR