in the center of the church
sandstone slab worn smooth
all the cold of winter
comes up from the stones that mark the final resting place of who’s and that’s
I state my case clearly:
God, I am homeless.
And God laughs.
Because He thinks I’m lying.
I am the kind of person who is never happy to be somewhere until it’s time to leave.
But what I like most
is coming back
A reunion needs a leave taking.
I’ve taken leave of
but my senses
which persist in lying to me
In telling me
when I taste
that I am home.
What is the lie?
That I am home?
Or that I have one?
But I think the real falsehood is that the place of bread and chocolate is home.
I didn’t feel at home until the day I left.
I’ve always associated snow with the cosmos.
Maybe it’s the snowflake’s unmistakable star shape
I’ve only seen that shape once
In a cluster on my lilac scarf
in the face of such extravagant detail
to curse the cold wetness they were causing my feet.
At this moment
by the light of a streetlamp
I’m watching an ever-expanding universe of violent action
move in fast-
as the foreign sky pours a blizzard
on our corrugated tin roofs
I can imagine that I am spinning around with the distant stars blurring and whirling
to look like snow fall.
When I was 17
and dark as only 17 can be
I stood under a confetti fall
of snowflakes bigger than a penny.
The snow held its breath
and floated too slowly to be real
But of course it was real
and of course the snowfall was the cosmos
and each snowflake a star
I had been called into the universe
Into the hugeness of God
(which is sometimes a snowflake)
And now that I knew it
there was no going back.
And to find myself here
flung out to the other side of the snowfall
I am ready for the snow to just be
And for the universe to shrink back to size
To fit in a cluster on my lilac scarf
And made no grand claims
about where I am going
The best thing
about the golden hour
is that it never lasts for exactly an hour.
It reaches out on both ends
Until there is enough time to bike to the island
and stretch to the length
of the golden hour itself.
Nettle burrs and dandelion ballerinas:
Plants are in-credible
Because their only purpose is to try for immortality
That seed will take
And then everything will have been worth it.
The dandelions are fallen moon and stars
But the buttercups
It gets to where
I cannot tell the difference between buttercups
The nearness of the cowbell
rings the hour.
And I am hidden under a white tree with clapping leaves and dancing bark
A tree with no other desire
than to be immortal.
If that were my only desire
the cool slab of headstone
would not turn my feet homeward
the bread and the chocolate
no sacrament of memory
the universe written
in a snowflake
would be a call only
And when I blew off every seed of a dandelion flower
I would not wish
from the homeland outwards:
middle of nowhere, Ukraine
As long as it takes.
And if when the time is up
I run away east
(To Kazakhstan, maybe)
It is not because I don’t want to go home
It’s because home became plural
and I wanted to