Friday, October 21, 2011


Yesterday, as we pulled up to the stop sign right before our house, Ella B said, "Home." It was not the first time she had said it, but it was the first time I started thinking about what this word means to her. For the first six months of her life we lived at my parent's house, a place that I have called home since I was two, but Ella will never remember as her home. This house that we have lived in for only a year is the only home she has ever known and will probably be the house she'll see in the rearview mirror as she drives off to college or wherever her life takes her. It's funny that this place where I feel so newly planted is the place where she feels the most rooted.

For homework last night, I asked my Creative Writing students to write a poem about their families. I had hoped to write one as well, but I felt too overwhelmed by all the planning and stacks of paper on my desk to actually do it, but as I was scrambling to get out the door this morning, the poem came to me- a poem about Ella and her home. So I stopped for a moment and wrote it down.

Coming Home

She says “home” now in her tiny voice that
extends and elongates the “o” and “m”
and I wonder what this means to her.

It used to be my belly- all tucked inside and
squished against my insides in a perfect circle
The only world she’d ever known

Home from the hospital meant
My parent’s house
So many years free of a baby’s cry
The harmony of three generations
easing the transition from
daughter to mother

There it was my bare chest
Her body curved against my breast,
A tiny hand reaching up to find me
in the dark, cold morning

And now it is this place
Blue house number 123
Pumpkins on the porch
Yard strewn with leaves
Long driveway leading
off to someplace else

It is so much bigger than me,
My womb, my breast, my memories
Bigger than the reach of my arm
You are so far away

But it always sounds the same


The “m” like mama, like mater, madre
Amma, Ahm, omm
The smell of baking bread,
Your hand in mine,
Of falling into something warm,
Release, contentment, comfort
Coming back to something
we can point at and say
That’s it, over there
that's where I come from,
that's the place I know

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