Bit of a longer one today; but heck, we are counting down to National NOVEL writing month, after all.

No Place Like Home
or, War: A Child’s Picture Book

Seized by indecision,
this is how the raven went:
upstairs, downstairs
all around the town
In through the out door
quoth the poet, “Nevermore!”
This is where we start from:
other people’s leavings

If I were a goldfish
I would learn to speak French
with a German accent
underwater in the rain

Can you feel it falling,
feel it falling underwater,
underwater in the rain?

This is how the bullets fell:
one, two, one two
and through and through
whizzing like firecrackers
popping like candy corn
lights bright as Ferris wheels
all the wheels turning

Wheels turning in the mud
heels churning in the mud
at sunset dirt can look like blood
all the fields burning

This is where the acorns grew,
here the apples, there the corn
This is where they picked the flowers
when her little girl was born
and all the boys were laughing

The boys were playing in the hay
the girls chased them all away
and the sleek black birds were watching,
watching from the cherry trees
flags unfurling in the breeze
sound of thunder on the hills
and all the birds were flapping
tattered wings against a battered sky
Cotton candy turned to smoke
and everything was burning
White sails on black water yearning,
yearning for the shore
Waves like handshakes turned
to backhand slaps against the
stoic rocks who stand in ever
failing lines against the upstart crackerjacks
and their terrible machines

This is where the bakery
put the pies on sills to cool
Here is where the farrier
soothed the skittish horses
Once a road is now a dim
reminder of a journey
barely visible against
the trenches and the craters
slowly filling, slowly spilling
over runnels in the rain

Can you hear it?
Can you hear it
underneath the constant
murmur, whine and hum?
The quiet dripping
water slipping
from the eavestroughs
from the lips of empty stone

It’s true, just as she said it was,
that little girl from Kansas:
There’s no place like it, anymore
no place at all like home.

-T.H. (with apologies to Poe, Seuss & Lewis Carroll)
(Patchwork journal, July 2012)

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