Going home

“Come hither!”
She beckons,
arms wide, lips curling
twisting, my soul with it.

Thunder echoes,
whispering hope in ears
rustling as autumn leaves 
brushing against 
my callous frame.

Worn by weather,
marred by wear,
my eyelids droop—
crinkles catch up,
I let go.

She bundles me—
warm scoop and ice cream,
melts the cold away,
carries me home.

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Calling home

“What else?” She asks.
For the second time today.

The first time, 
I’d stood by the window
basking, in the stream
shooting from the horizon.
Full in my face,
filling untinted glasses
with blinding brightness
and warmth.

Like a steam towel on an airplane
soothing, it sat on my eyes,
closed, I’d surrendered
just a little longer…
almost forgetting
mother’s “what else?”
I’d jerked at her shakiness
“Hmm… Nothing else, ma.”

Clicking off,
promising another call
in eight hours.

As a pebble in a stream,
tumbling, tumulting at tasks 
delayed progress
time flew in my world—
froze in hers.
As empty picture frame, 
life hung around.
Hollow in the middle, 
nothingness spread wide,
countable greys now blacks
once page-flipping fingers
frayed, shiver at a touch
shrill soccer mum’s throat
now trill in weak trebles.

“What else?” she asks me.
Stumped, “How’s the weather ma?”
I repeat.

Hiker

Sandy sunscreen
straw hat of dust
a coat of gravel
covering all
wanders woman 
uphill.

Face to the sky
defying weariness
denying defeat
digs feet down
desperate 
for peak.

Mean rebel
uncontrolled
know-it-all
unmarried still
questionably so
treks solo.

Runs away
plain after plain
to send back
pain after pain
as parental hopes
finds noose.

Beams wide
atop mountain
brighter than light
from within
comes peace
with freedom.

I remember…

“My goodness, it hasn’t changed at all!” Lisa’s eyes bulge in surprise as she looks around the neighbourhood. An old Victorian mansion peers at us from the top of the small hill. Paved and untrodden paths lead down into town where we’d stopped for panini and coffee not long ago.

Mourning the lack of life around them, trees stood bare, rarely moving in the cold winter morning. The house itself vibrates of ancient history, stories forgotten, failed to be passed on. As an over-ripe banana, patches of spots, black, white, and forty shades of brown cling throughout the peeling walls of the house, its russet picket fence the only reminder of good old times.

Lisa brought me to our childhood home. She said it’d help me recover. But as I watch her reliving her teenage—I imagine golden days of scratched knees with tears streaming down mud-covered cheeks and screams encoring through the hill, I suspect her intentions. Beaming with joy, brimming with nostalgia she turns to me, eyes expectant as a child tugging at her mother’s apron while the ice-cream truck passes by. And I look back at her. Nothing.

They said she’s my sister. She said this was our home. I remember nothing.

Shopping mall

Nodding, she mutely accepted the handsome volunteer’s scripted gratitude. A measly $15 donation didn’t warrant his genuine thanks.

Still. More welcoming than the tirade of her alcoholic breadwinner.