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“Song Going Home” + “For the Old House” by Caroline Collins

“Song Going Home” + “For the Old House” by Caroline Collins

Home is the gas jet               
just flipped on, dancing its blue ring
under the iron skillet

Home is the spring mud
under my feet, its bright blades 
that will brush my shins in no time

Home is the wind
rippling the corn, spilling
its green whisper of secrets

Home is the smell 
of fresh rain, seeping in 
through the open window

Home is the taste 
of the cold spring, bringing us back 
no matter how far we wander

Home is my heart
skimming along, a flat stone 
flung far across the water

Home is a river of memory
I wade in deep
and never touch bottom

For the Old House
(for my brother Demetrius)   

We are but the latest travelers 
here. Strangers will never know
which screen our calico tore, 
so wild to be outside, 
or where the Saturday opera 
soared to the attic crawl space.

They’ll find the transom 
where the breeze sounds
its foghorn, but not 
who sat where, reading
or praying the rosary, telling  
stories, ironing clothes.  

Yet love is still here, amid 
the knots and tangles, 
after all the dust and pain 
of subtraction—for love
is what always remains  
in the presence of absence.

Caroline Collins’ recent poems have appeared in Bangor Literary Journal, The Green Light, Parousia, and Tiny Seed Journal, with work forthcoming in The Hopper. Her poetry collection Presences was published by Parallel Press in 2014. She teaches college-level composition and literature in the USA.

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