In some places, a cat has nine lives
I say we have a few more
A cat jumps back in line swinging
And we crawl back, more dead than before
You’ll look at me and say
“But you’re young and bright
Nothing can get you down”
And I’ll look away.
Fight or flight. Fight. Fly. Now.
Let me show you how I became this way
A half shell person wandering the streets
A sleep-walker, stumbling between the painted lines
A ‘well rounded’ multi lingual ready to retreat
Let me show you, life by life,
How I had happy homes to spare
And lost them all. Each and every one
How I wasted my time trying not to care
The first one, quiet and quaint
A holed up, stone faced flat
Right in a moldy, Scottish lane
Full of tea time, Jaffa, and a Winnie the Pooh mat
A home they know better
It wasn’t mine for long, mine for real
Four years really doesn’t mean much
So when we left, did I cry at all?
The next, much sunnier than the last
A tiled square, in a foreign city
A land of beaches, bread, seafood and new friends.
I remember being, more than ever, a family.
But we left there too, after just one year
What a life to lose, caterpillar leaves and stolen gifts and water park tears.
We packed up again and boarded our plane
Shorter and shorter my love grew
We landed, my third home in my fifth year
Greeted with dusty air and sticky clouds
A home of cinderblocks and barbed wire
A home of war, gunshots, and swarming crowds
It was a home of strangled wholeness for years
Then we began to leave one by one
Until it was just me, staring through screened windows
Wondering when the loneliness had begun
Was it when we left our first home
When the language changed for us all
Was it when they started to leave me behind
Choosing school in The valley over prolonging feigned childhood
Or was it when I started jet setting alone
Perched by the wing, window seat, please
No, nothing to eat for fear of being too much there.
Is that when the gaps opened, the hollows in my previous peace?
You know it too, my acronym-ed friends.
The labels, the questions, the praises and approbation, the countless friends
(around the world)
and the crushing silence right next to you.
Right next to you.
Desperate for shelter we wander
Gasping for belonging we claw at one another
They look at me through a lens that’s been
Evangelically tinted and praise me for graces
I’ve never committed
While I think “Wouldn’t I give all the courage in the world
For a roof that never moved and a home that never shifted?”
Maybe. Maybe. But even as I stand, swaying on my moving ground;
This is not the end.
We spent our lives jet lagged, unpacking suitcases before emotions.
Truth spread, story told, good news shared, of a home far beyond this opalescent life.
Heart beat to inhale till it all stands still.
This is nothing but one more illusory home.
He will greet us There. At last.