Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Return

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.

Credit


From The Burning Point by Frances Richey. Copyright © 2004 by Frances Richey. Reprinted by permission of White Pine Press. All rights reserved.

 

Author


Frances Richey

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