Hauling ass out of the Appalachian foothills,
I wasn't sure the car would make the trip.
Two rusted off back quarter panels, exhaust pipe
gone, primer orange and beaten ugly
from drug running through West Virginia,
from that summer driving across country
from Norfolk to Chapel Hill to Cincinnati,
(where the axle broke) all the way
to Northwest Illinois corn fields where
later, we thought we might grow dreams....
though that was for another life, nearly a decade
away. We had so much more desperation to go through
before life would find us there.
it wasn't a pretty place, but you were there
and that was enough to call it home... hauling ass
out of Eastern Kentucky, you and I
though there was nothing to run from
and (we would find out years later)
nothing to run to.
We ran from there, too, you and I,
to Cincinnati, close to hearth and family,
away from the toxic waste in Tennessee water.
Cincinnati, where we watched a Christmas Eve
riot out on the street
while my daughter was asleep on the futon,
watched the cops take down children
with rubber bullets
while somewhere, in a richer, Caucasian part of town
dreams of sugar plums and gaming systems
did the trick...
… where you were robbed
and afraid to go downtown, and we ate
dumplings without chicken, potatoes and carrots,
dreaming of some other place, some destination
where it was safe, and the winter
was not so cold, and our dreams would unfold.
Arizona let us down, too -- though to be fair
it tried. But the state could not contain my anger
and you could not be contained with it
and with me simultaneously.
So the Midwestern cornfields called to us. Finally.
We went. The house was old and the roof leaked.
And the yard was too big. But the rent was cheap
and there were no drunken arguing neighbors
on the other side of thin walls. We could see the stars.
We traded sand drifts for snow,
palm trees for orange poppies
someone planted in front,
and a magnolia tree that reminded me
of New Orleans every Spring.
Yet my thoughts of late
are not about the poppies
or the magnolia tree. I do not
ruminate about the leaky roof
or the yard I didn't like cutting.
Home is not a house, because a house
is an easy thing to lose and to replace.
Even so –
my home is not my home anymore.