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Lies For Home And Travel

      Written in response to a prompt in The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop, by Diane Lockwood. Though this wonderful book encourages much revision, I enjoy the prompts for my first-draft, slapdash, on the run efforts at a daily poem—quite a different animal than polished, much revised and burnished poetry—the difference between a dollar store coffee mug and a Ming dynasty teacup.

Today, I am going to say I travel.

I’ll say, I’m leaving for Europe—
Though I never travel so far—
Just to picture myself packing, then
Unpacking in a foreign hotel.

I love the casual tone of friends who travel,
Those who say Barcelona or Mykonos
Without exclamation,
The way I might say hardware store.

Today, I bought a leather bag
With a cunning little passport sleeve
Though I don’t have a passport.
I hoped the store clerk might ask, Where…?

Which they didn’t. But I was prepared.
Scotland, I might answer. Edinburgh.
Or Florence or Tokyo, the names all lies,
Intoxicating promise on my tongue.

When I travel in real life, it is business
Or family—Cleveland, Atlanta, Houston.
I study departure boards, imagine myself
Hopping instead on the next flight to Paris.

I love it in my head, to think of my bag full
Of silk shirts and fountain pens, me walking
Cobblestone streets bristling with cathedrals
And cafes, music and pigeons in the square.

Though we have pigeons here.
And lies aside, the truth is this—
Home from Cleveland, I will open my front door,
Not with a thrill, but a deep persistent joy at the word,
The very sound of the word, Home.

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