Home is Never Where You Left It
Oregon plates, thirteen
fourteen years, the cement
still wet. This life
stars a warrior home from war,
or a drifter ringing doorbells
shouting Dad! Dad!
after he’d gone down the Clackamas
to Bend or Tigard.
wires strumming overhead
and we are the sound,
the canvas pant, duffle bag—
He has the efficient haircut
of a former hippie
or local news cameraman
back from the failures
his father warned him about,
the lush trees growing in the median,
thirteen fourteen years away
in a foster-gray raincoat boat,
and I worry I’m trying too hard,
the only road not under construction—
Who can I rely on to advise me?
Things I didn’t notice the first time:
Indian motorcycle peeling out,
he rings once only before getting frustrated,
458-STM license plate
the area code and initials of the director.
All symbolism means something,
a house can be blonde
then turn dystopia-gray
when you try to break in,
like aging under a volcano,
flowerboxes built into the sidewalk,
or July turning into November.
The window disappears
but he can suddenly teleport into fields
with his eyes, undeveloped
commercial land built to suit,
a neat trick, but he can’t go home,
can’t go back, it’s no place
and it’s never the same. Home
means the mountains are always east.
Matt Summers, Home is Never Where You Left It
American, b. 1980, playing from Boston, MA, USA
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Matt Summers currently lives in Boston with his wife and dogs. His poems have appeared in Notre Dame Review, Confrontation, South Carolina Review, The Comstock Review, and others.