Junior year my professor taught me that cells are constantly in flux, that their proton gradients are constantly unstable, and that this is what keeps them going. I think about the Facebook page my dad added me to, You Need to Know That We're from KOP and It's More Than Just a Mall, I think about my cells and cycles and how maybe my instability has kept me alive all these years too. Back home no one talks about the deer carcass on the side of 202 or how those new apartment buildings block the sunset or how breaking out of a barbwire clique is a sin against nature. The people there don’t want to admit they’re MAGA hat wearing dicks now, more concerned about drinking themselves dramatic, divorced, and into debt than they are about their children or what will be left for their children's children. I swear money is the only shade of green their drowned out, diminished, completely depleted senses can grasp anymore. I look around now and can only guess it was more important, more profitable, to pave over my childhood than it was to preserve it. I mean, my bones are made of Penco steel but these tar desert parking lots are so effing hot in the summer that I become puddled molten, useless and defenseless against this incessantly changing climate. And sometimes I get so lost that I just stare at my now rock ridden yard or spend the day tracing the ridges of the last two trees on our property, wondering if the next family to live here will wait until I’m dead to rip them out. Other times I cling to pictures and maps of this towns’ long forgotten gems like it’s the only remaining evidence that I ever existed here. Even from the safety of Mallard Road, I can feel that Simon Mall, that second biggest mall in the nation, mock me as I try to commit 378 Prince Frederick Street, Baxter Field, and all the bricks in that fifty-eight-year-old high school to memory. But mostly when I miss feeling rooted in something genuine, I drive to Valley Forge, right up to the Southern tip of Outer Line Drive, and cry. Maybe I’m just choked up on the fumes of anger and greed and denial that populate this town now, or maybe it’s because we still haven’t marked the graves of these Continental troops. All I know is that hill, with its forgotten history, turns gold every night around 6:30. It might be the only dependable thing left in this town. Honestly I just hope it’s still here in seven years, when I’m twenty-eight and my childhood cells are being shed for the last time. That way, I can come back and mourn another kind of unmarked grave.
Anna Lendacky is a senior at Saint Joseph's University majoring in English with a minor in Gender Studies. She has co-authored an article on Herman Melville in Leviathan, a journal dedicated to the literary works and life of Melville, and more recently has been published in Crimson & Gray. Anna continues her writing endeavors through her work with Sigma Tau Delta, her commitment to ending sexual assault through a Rape Education Prevention Program and her independent explorations of gender equality.