I got a call today from a member of my past.
He asked too many questions; I asked none.
This conversational imbalance pleased me so;
as if I’ve grown up, or become what he tried
to stop me from becoming: stronger.
I left the house he built for me today; I’ve left before,
but this was my long awaited last look
at the shallow ceilings, upturned floorboards, dusty books.
I don’t miss it here, in silence; I don’t miss
the suffocating grip of wanting something bad for me,
of pleasing someone bad to me, of being held
by the eyes of others that do not care, but care to judge.
The front door and the ring hold no curb appeal;
they were not worth the trade in: my whole self,
for something much less me. The air out here is sticky
with the welcoming heat of evening; the sun makes lines
and points to golden tree branches and floating bits of cotton;
it beckons me home.
I miss home.
When I was young there was a Voice that called me lovingly
from morning time to noon, from afternoon to evening.
I cannot find the Voice, but I am leaving; there is nothing
(no empty space, no chain, no silent direction) that could keep me
living placidly among the weeds, waiting to die, waiting
for a hand to save me. I am leaving by myself to save me.
You can keep your lofty hand; I am looking for one less clean,
less allergic to the soil beneath my feet.
The caving roof creaks; this old place knows that I am breathing.
Perhaps I owe it a word or two before I go, an offering of thanks,
a measure of condolence for the misery in which it could not keep me.
The poison in the walls has purged the poison in me; I can not be mean,
because I know what it feels like. I cannot oppress because it hinders
my own gracious freedom. I have been made grateful for the raindrops
and the chance to dance between them. My voice stands stronger
when I speak or sing than when I keep the words in;
to this old place I owe at least a small bit of gratitude,
for teaching me who I am,
and for teaching me who I am not.