I hope I’ll be welcoming when you sweep in after your long journey
you’d trail mud across the cream tiles
you’d waft in earthy sweat
loam encrusted in your gnarled fingers
you’d print my white door frame
your voice would boom and scare my children
with toothless joviality as you snatch
their kisses fierce and wet.
I don’t pretend I chose my setting.
The colour scheme’s not mine
I added touches, too timid perhaps,
family pictures and drawings.
You’d break the symmetry of photos
you’d want to point at your descendants
and trace each trait to some Carpathian shepherd
with wrinkle-lined eyes from gazing too long at the sun.
You would not miss my recoil
even as you laugh it off.
I would not miss your sharp intake
of breath as bleach fills up your nostrils
You laugh at how antiseptic, how shrivelled I’ve become,
how I pay someone else to muddle up
my colour-coordinated mops and sponges
while I read books on sofas.
I hoped I’d be welcoming.
But I fear it turns out
deracination is not just for plants.
Overwhelmed with house guests this week, so just a quick poem here (not about the current guests, but about my great-grandfather, the Carpathian shepherd).
11 thoughts on “Homecoming? You’re Not From Around Here…”
What a beautiful poem
Thank you – it does feel special to me, although it’s not quite where I want it yet…
I love the way you discuss that connection between your own family history and your current home, Marina Sofia.
You can never go back, as they say. Yet in those mountains I feel truly at home.
you’d trail mud across the cream tiles… loved how this line set the stage for what was to come
In practice, of course, it’s my children who trail in mud on a daily basis, but…
Hmm…just my opinion, of course, but I think this may be your best yet… 🙂
Blushing and preening about that – thank you so much!
Wow Marina I thought this was a beautiful reflective poem about your great grandfather…….I have often thought similar things as I live in the house my great grandparents lived in once also……would they even recognise it now I wonder….
Such tensions so artfully interwoven…
And, you taught me a new word 🙂