A Ride to School by Stephan Porterfield, Jr.

As she drops me off at school 
my mother tells me to give her a kiss 
on the cheek before I get out 
of the car. My peers can see me 
through the window 
and I’m embarrassed 
I mean, what teenager wouldn’t be? 
It seems so desultory 
our roles are so different 
as mother and son 
one is seeing her son off to school 
another is embarrassed and slinks away
20 years later 
she stays in an extended stay hotel 
divorced and abandoned 
but it has a kitchenette she says
 like it’s a good thing 
a cocktail of antidepressants and painkillers 
keeping her sane 
and now I’m embarrassed again 
for ever being ashamed to kiss my mother 
on her cheek.
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