What do you say when you've forgotten how the grass smells, married to the dark soil crumbling in your hands? When the sun makes a bed for you to lie in? When a voice you've never heard has missed you, singing down your bones-- it's taken so long to get here. Now I'm breathing in the mountains as if I'd never left. And when I go inside I'm surprised to see a lime green worm has landed on my shorts, inching his way across a strange white country. He stops and rises, leaning out of himself-- a tiny periscope peering from the glow of the underdream where there are no symbols for death. He looks around. I place my index finger at the tip of what I guess to be his head, though I don't see an eye or an ear, or the infinitesimal feet as he crawls across my palm-- a warmer planet. Lately I've wondered what hand guides my way when I am lost. I can't feel him though I see him rise again, survey the future, flat and broken into five dead ends. I curl my fingers to make a cup and carry him like a blessing to the garden-- What will happen next is a mystery-- to be so light in the world, to leave no tracks.
From The Burning Point by Frances Richey. Copyright © 2004 by Frances Richey. Reprinted by permission of White Pine Press. All rights reserved.
Frances Richey is the author of The Warrior: A Mother’s Story of a Son at War (Penguin Books, 2008) and The Burning Point (White Pine Press, 2004), winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize. She lives in New York City.
Date Published: 2004-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/return