poem index

No Place Like Home

Stephen Cushman
My ocean's the one bad weather blows out to. 
To face the other, waves all driven 
by prevailing winds, I have to turn 
my back on my family. May they forgive 
this westward spree, my losing my head 
to ravens that ride the thermals in circles, 
to the shrub-covered bluffs of coastal scrub 
and chaparral, to coons in the avocado trees; 
may they not worry that I see signs 
warning Great White Shark Area, 
Rutting Elk May Be Aggressive,
and Hazardous Surf, or that one night two 
quick earthquakes burped through the ground; 
and may they repeat, when I return 
slightly burned from the land of poppies, 
all the lessons they ever taught me 
about odination in the ordinary.

From Cussing Lesson by Stephen Cushman. Copyright © 2002 by Stephen Cushman. Reproduced with permission of Louisiana State University Press. All rights reserved.

Stephen Cushman