Waiting (poem)

I’ve been thinking about home a lot lately…my own birthplace and the general concept of belonging. I feel rather rootless, despite having lived in my current city for thirteen years. Something is calling me back to my home state of Alabama, but I’m not sure what. I need to plan a trip.

This poem, though written some time ago, fits my emotional state today.


The fragrance of your shoulders lingers
like the shadow in the doorway the day you left,
dooming the crops to failure, the clouds to gridlock,
the birds to perpetual restlessness.

I hold a postcard from you
that shows a black-and-white lighthouse
with the words: Glad I finally got away.

I don’t blame you, of course—
I would have gotten away, too, had my legs
not been encased in the iron of this town,
my will tied to the whimsy of the librarian
who still frowns me down when I’m overdue.

Perhaps curiosity (not desire) will drive you back home
and you’ll find me. By then, I’ll be bent at the waist,
my thoughts riddled with holes, but I’ll know you,
never having forgotten you in the first place.

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