Daniel Romo

The Broken Places

Visiting familiar terrain can be both a painful remainder and reminder. But what’s left and what’s next are neither synonymous nor negotiable. Although not the choicest of destinations, returning to where it all began delivers a vital stamp to any passport intent on producing personal growth and beloved, public Instagram photos. Labeling any parcel of land gives the distinct feeling of overcoming or overcompensating, but memory can’t ever escape an umbrella term denoting rubble and hurt. Gathering the fractured pieces is the most popular activity at any pity party, while moving on comes in at a close second. Filling in the cracks with small talk is as fitting a song title as Tip-Toeing Through a Tornado; painful locations are never initial topics of conversation. Never a, “Nice to meet ya’ wanna’ hear about my childhood trauma?” before shaking a new hand. Facing your biggest fears often means retracing many small steps and deaths. Putting yourself back together again is a chance to plant Snapdragons in the chasms you thought too deep to ever reach.

Daniel Romo is the author of Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press 2019), When Kerosene’s Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014), and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). His poetry can be found in The Los Angeles Review, PANK, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere. He has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and he is an Associate Poetry Editor at Backbone Press. He lives and teaches in Long Beach, CA. More at danielromo.net.