Homesickness Is a Geographic Nostalgia

Jennifer Militello

Home: it is the undergrowth in me

that grows over, that tangles and

takes cover and is awake and cannot

be staked down. It is the vine

or brush that will not be burned

or groomed or cured or curled,

at its bracket or martyr or marrow,

at its emptiness minus branches,

an answer or a bruise. This poverty

in me you mistake for sleep. This cape

I wear as if to cope. This open door

like a sore healed over or a shape

one may shift. This part of me

adrift or lost at sea. This part of me

the blight one cannot cure. This

part of me unsure and bearing witness.

If I am a story, this is the caesura.

If I am a cello, this is its string.

Home has an ownership of me I milk

or battle. Home has in me a rattle

I make of the way light falls, voice

another breathes. I grieve its likeness

like a lover. I grieve it now that it is

over. I dig for it like gold. I bury it

in the ground. Store the fat. Salt

the meat. Understand the starve to come

until it blooms like moths. Not one

sound mimics its hover. I feel for it

and its smother, its smock, its collar,

its wool coat, its clover, all I am

when with another, all I am when

also alone. Its wolf tone or soured liver.

Its hospice or clouded mirror. Its

ribbon, rack, or battered father. If it is

a beaker, I am the experiment. If it is

the bubble, I am the reaction. If it is

the laboratory, I am ready to explode.


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