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Nostalgia Becomes Grief

By Liz Enochs

I want to wear corduroy overalls and tops with spaghetti straps, hear dial tones from phones with finger holes, eat gummies that gush in my mouth, drink from glasses of bonneted geese, watch 1990s VHS recordings just for the commercials, play kickball at the church playground where a girl told everyone I was queer, sneak into the sanctuary and watch myself in the Christmas play, eavesdrop on my conversations with the only Black girl in children’s church, see the poster I hid under my bed so the Hansons wouldn’t become a “graven image” on my wall, visit my hometown before the trailer park became a shopping center, before my first boss became my sexual harasser, before my grandparents were buried — I want to hold the dog my dad shot in the woods because we couldn’t afford the vet, run from boys who made me laugh before they became men who made me cry, buy orange ice cream from a truck and stroll dirt roads with girls who became people I don’t talk to anymore, walk out of rooms where adults told me how not to get raped — but more than all of that, I want to know how and why and when nostalgia becomes grief.

Liz Enochs is a writer from southeast Missouri — more often than not, you’ll find her in the woods.

Art by Ellie Ladyman, an acrylic and watercolor painter who finds inspiration in being outdoors and spending time with family.


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