Homecoming

H

Born on the river’s wrong side,

I am the March weather that spits wind

in the eaves of your house, the recluse spider

hidden in your rolled up kitchen towel. I am the wobble

in the loops of your handwriting, the trembling shadow

you cannot shake from the creases in your stationery.

 

I am the shifting field in your chest, the rust in your wellwater.

That splintering crack of gunshot during an otherwise silent migration.

 

You know I am

the presence that scatters harvesting birds

from your birch tree branches. You know

I am the bonewhite spaces of bark and trunk left behind.

 

And when the doctor exposes the knob

in your lung, when your ruined womb releases,

when your husband says he can no longer try

to be away from you, when the fires shake your house

and lick your children’s hairbows

and eat their tiny shoes, I crawl into your stomach and open it so wide

you think the air might be dampening, think a bat might be hanging

like a tongue in the cave of your heart.

 

But because every day you pass through the same spaces

I have been, you shudder less: Because when I leave a room,

you enter the closing hole of sifting particles

and make your heart larger:

 

I am also the sweetness of an overripe apple straining to the edges of its peel,

the hard seeds between your teeth, the white flash

of juice running down your chin. I am the stain

and the color, the flesh and the still life, the shadow beneath a wooden bowl

and the light gathered on its rim.

 

-Sarah McCartt-Jackson-
published as “Vanishing Point.” Yemassee Journal. 18.1.2 (2011): 97. Print.

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