Poems of the Week

On the Topic of “Home”

  • “Home Sweet Home.” Graphic Julian Bata

Voices

by S.G.

It began with a sharp
Intake of breath.
A space in a sentence where
A word should have been.
The word, forgotten instantly,
Was replaced with a space
In which thoughts grew,
Festered and multiplied.
The space became silence.
And in that silence,
The next word was contested.
How can a second word
Follow an absent first?
Thus within moments
The sentence,
So bold to begin with,
Found itself tripping over its own
Cluttered existence.
The sentence then disappeared entirely.
And in that silence,
The thoughts grew taller, wider
Until cancerous quietness
Pervaded the room like a
Ghost on our tongues.
Then, as with all good ghost stories,
The story was left untold – Words hanging on the edge of our tongues;
Saliva that we instantly retracted
And swallowed in shame.
The words began to be forgotten.
And in that silence,
We soon forgot the meaning of our
Loudness.
Why we had spoken up before,
When silence was easier and
Far more practical.
Politeness was possible
When nobody dared to speak.
Utterance caused clutter,
Clutter caused error,
And error caused trouble.
In our silence we were perfect.
The silence became our sound.
And in that silence,
We forgot how to be.
We forgot how to live with conviction,
We forgot how to die with meaning.
We forgot how to laugh,
Cry, sing and talk.
But mostly,
We forgot that we had voices at all.

Home

by M.D.

You didn’t put me here,
like some some doll, with
your clutch wrapped around my abdomen.

I am not that delicate,
though some days, I feel safer
with the crook of your waist
pressed up against my body.

But you didn’t put me here.

“I wish you could see yourself
from my eyes,” I used to tell you.

(I’ve never shown you my favourite poem.)

If only you could see through them now,
when something else entirely
seems to infiltrate the green of them.

If only you knew what I see in you, doll.

No, you didn’t put me here.
I carved this place for myself, a pocket of darkness in my ribcage.
But I saw you;
insecurity seeping from your pores
like the coffee you pour in the mornings.

You push, and then pull them into you
grasping at them as though they could fill
the void that maybe you thought I once could.

I walked to this place,
on my own terms; slowly but surely.
Every step taking me further away from myself.

It’s happening
again—— .. . …
.

We were supposed to be a home,
for us—for her.
I was structure, with my reliably late nights
and a certainty that the sun will greet us in the morning.

You were the roof that kept us dry; the bed we sleep in;
the chest we laid our heads on,
whispering across the canyon of you.

She was, is still, the sky.
The stars that I’ve dreamt about, a sunrise so far from us.

I wanted to be a home for us. I wanted a home for us. I still do.

You—
walk through the hallways with mucky boots,
drop glasses of me and spill my insides out on the floor.

(As if somehow,
I haven’t put in the work.)

My mother left her dream home.
Walked away from the chipped shingles and the fireplace,
The beach in our front yard and the forest behind the Oak.
Perhaps now, I know
what it’s like to put your soul into a place–into a home,
thinking “This will always be ours.”

The Girl With the Golden Crown

by E.B.

She walks as the wind blows, as the heart beats,
and as the thrushes throw among the skies;
as the lovers meet, and as the rivers flow.
She ebbs and flows, to and fro,
from the stars where she was born
to the fleeting sounds of an earth below.

She trains her ear to a heart breaking,
to the great remaking,
as a ravenous disaster that rates
ten point oh on the scales
where the earthquakes go,
comes to take the old and replace it
with the stakes of a new world.

The earthly buildings
will crack
and hurt
and lovely people may crash and burn,
but you might discern,
that when the sun rises,
it does rise the brighter with the bread that we’ve earned.

And so after breaking our backs
with the burdens of blood on our hands,
we’ll spill our own and then we will stand—
staring at the chaos that we’ve created,
and not quite diverted.

She knows that too hastily
we have flirted with the ideas of dying,
a little too early, and a little too young.

And a little too brashly,
and without enough sun,
to stain our hearts with the warmth
that would tide us through the winter,
so she lets us continue
to watch our blood spill into naked pitchers,
filling up and spilling over,
one at time until we’re rotting into the damns,
of one another.

And I’ll be damned if we stood to do nothing.
For remember,
she watches waiting for our blood to spill;
and she’ll spill out her laughter.
Tears will hit the floor of the universe
when she moves from above
because her heart lacks enough
love to see what we’re worth.
We strive, yet the harder we try,
the quicker we fade;
workers as thin as the wisps
that try to whisk them away.

We work the fields night and day
just to feel the calluses grow and
the heat burn on our skulls;
the steel of our own scythes slice
into our skin all the deeper,
and we look up as she keeps us here.

I will try to touch the sun someday,
I say—I’ll try to ride the clouds.
Even if I just get burnt and rained on,
or fall from your depths to my death below—
I will find the stepping-stone
to the stars in your eyes.
Because I would rather die
trying to be significant than
die a worker in your fields,
I would rather die
trying to be someone
than a gentle wisp of how that girl feels.

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