22 April, 2010

Day 22: The Valley Out Of The Boy

Though it has been
better than five years
since I last walked your streets
I know them without having
to see them or feel them
under my feet. This is not
a sense of belonging
so much as a sense
of definition—
like that childhood game
picking the picture
which does not belong
knowing without being told
I am the object
I am looking for.

For years I blamed you.
I blamed doctors. I blamed classmates
who seemed less isolated
who were not bound up
with the same silence that has always
plagued me. I blamed
the multitude of churches
and their preachers of impossible perfection;
I blamed the narrow streets and endless cornfields
that first etched themselves on my eyelids
during long hours riding my bike and
wandering fields full of tall grass
I was forbidden to enter.

The truth is while I can no more
call you home than I can
remove myself from the picture
and I know there is no grand homecoming
and that the broken streets
and pulpits and back roads
have forgotten me
you outline the edges of the thing
I have always lacked—
that sense of belonging which comes
from knowing your place in the universe
that easiness which abuses memory
and confuses nostalgia with gravity
and fools people into believing
that the urge to flee
is nothing more than a dream
for children who are too young
to know the fear and the glory
of an uncertain sunrise.