Misfit Blood

Family by blood. Family by marriage. 
That is your family. 
Friends are friends, 
friends are not family. 
Friends are temporary, family is forever." 
A childhood of lessons and mantras
I never agreed to. 
A childhood of dark thoughts
feelings of the mis-cut puzzle piece
that ever fits with the puzzle.

A stint at a punk house
in adolescence. 
Short lived because
like us
it wasn't understood
and left to fend for itself.

I left my blood family, 
they say it was choice. 
The black sheep left the herd.

A decade, I've been gone. 
A decade of hometown visits
with few visitors on my end. 
Phone calls dwindled to
"Why don't you ever call?"
Visits turn into
"Everyone's just moved on with their lives."

Feelings of chopped liver
come to mind.

Tenth Christmas visit. 
Tensions between aunts and mother
flex like a rubber band. 
You could choke harder on the passive aggression
than the overlooked turkey bone.

Family by blood, 
"We're your family.
Your friends seem nice, 
but your friends are friends."

Ohana means family. 
Family means no one gets left behind.

My stomach tightens, 
food doesn't take good. 
I hear the phone ringing, 
Grandmas in the hospital, 
mother and aunts are fighting, 
cousins are leaving, 
brother is sick, 
niece is sick,
nephew has a game. 
So whats this phone call about?

Family, by choice, 
is what family by blood
calls my family of friends.

Choice? 
I had no choice in my friends. 
My friends are my family, 
we didn't choose each other,
I want to explain, 
we are the broken, 
misshapen
puzzle pieces;
the chopped liver
our blood families don't
understand
want
remember.

No one gets left behind
in my family.