Daily Archives: May 4, 2018

The Blessing I Once Called Home

Some say a city is a sin
and a farm is a blessing.

I know more these days
of city and sin, although 

I grew up near such graces,
spent little time there, knew them

only in passing from car windows
and bike rides. 

In my home town we had dairy farms
that grew corn to feed the cows, 

with farm stands built of scrap wood
selling vegetables on the edges of gravel lots

full of dusted cars and families
selecting just the right tomatoes and such.

Some of those stands worked 
by the honor system — leave your money

in the box, take what you need;
they weren’t robbed often, if you can believe it.

I promise you they were there, and they may still be there. 
They may still feed 
the people of my hometown 

and the small towns around it.  
I have friends who say they’re still there,

and I believe them no matter how far away
they seem to me now here where produce

is found only upon misting shelves in cold aisles,
or an urban farmer’s market once a week 

in a gravel lot full of people
from all over this city:

a blessing in the center of sin,
if sin it is. I will not call it a sin

although the dream of a farm
is powerful salvation when the asphalt

is steaming after a rain that falls
on ground that cannot grow a pure thing

if if can grown anything at all; maybe
a city is a sin and all the God there is

is only found out there in the smell
of fresh-turned soil. I don’t know.

What I do know is that when I hold earth
in my hand I feel something

I do not feel often here,
and when I do, I want to cry out

that I have missed this
for a long, long time now

and holding this
takes me somewhere 

to the blessing
I once called home.


I’ve stopped looking at certain magazine articles
about travel to places I’ve been 
because I will not likely go to any
of those places again: Los Angeles, 
Columbus, Atlanta, Miami, Fargo.

There’s no point in looking at travel brochures
for places I never went to
because I will not likely go there now:
Tenerife, Juneau, Kingston, Omaha,
Tzitzicaztenanco, Lagos, Cheyenne, Rome.

I look into each room I enter now
long and hard, because I will not likely know
which entrance will be my last entrance,
which entrance will not be followed by an exit;
not that my struggle to memorize the details of each

will matter, for if I do indeed pass in that very room
right then and there, no one will know what I saw
and noticed. I will take that work with me
to wherever is next, or it will fade with my own fading
from sight. I tell you this now so you will know

how much it matters to me now that I am present
wherever I am.  When I pass I will strive
to hold onto that moment as long as I can. 
If it vanishes with me then so be it.  It of course
will vanish for you then, and I am sorry for that.

Just know that I have already stopped thinking of
Paris and Tzitzicastenaco with regret
for never having been there. That I have no regrets
for never having returned to Atlanta or Chicago.
I got what I needed there and hope I gave 

as good as I got from each. Whatever room
I depart from now, I will try to grace it. I hope
someone turns from me slowly cooling there
with love for my having been there. I will work
to honor all the spaces where I have yet to be.