THINKING MYSELF HOME
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