Monday, October 31, 2005

THINKING MYSELF HOME

This weekend I will be going to the mountains for a writing conference, and will be staying with my parents. I'm especially excited about taking a class at the conference taught by Kathryn Stripling Byer, NC Poet Laureate. Here is a poem by her that fittingly talks about a trip home (though for her an imaginary one) to her mother and father with all that entails: worry, guilt, and idle comments. Wish me luck and Happy Halloween!


Thinking Myself Home


I have to look up and over the trees
all the way to the mountains I see in the distance,

then hang a left soon as I get there,
thinking my way down the Blue Ridge

and into the piedmont just south
of Atlanta. From there it's a straight

shoot to home,
if I still want to go, which I do

because this is the best way,
by stealth, no one knows I am coming,

no cake to be baked,
and my mother not worrying most of her day

by the telephone, clearly imagining
fifty car pile-ups,

the ambulance wailing, the whole bloody
nine miles of interstate closed

for the body count.
No idle comments about my new haircut,

my extra pounds. I could be dust
on the air or a bright stab of light passing through.

I don't have to stay long.
I can leave when I want to, without feeling guilty

when I see my father's eyes squinching
back tears as I drive away.

Hello and goodbye. That's it.
And I'm back

in my bedroom that faces south into the side
of these trees, with the radio on

warning Traveler's Advisory. Wrecking-ball hailstones.
King Kong tornado. Megaton Blizzard.

A forecast so unimaginably bad, only a fool
would drive home in this kind of weather.


Kathryn Stripling Byer
Copyright © 2002 The Cortland Review

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