Imprint



Imprint

(from Within My Illusions)


When I was a little girl

and I got hurt, my mother

tried to comfort me.


Held in her embrace,

tears veiled my face as I cried,

“I want to go home.”


Over and over and over again:

“I want to go home.”


“You are home,” she would say.

“We are at home.”


Over and over and over again:

“I want to go home.”




Just over a year ago, I started recording poems from Within My Illusions at a friend’s place. He offered to take a video of me reading a poem, and I said, “Sure!” I turned the page to see which poem was up next, and it was “Imprint.” I share the video of this reading below. Looking back, it seems like some sort of cosmic foreshadowing.


It’s been one year since Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic, one year since my kids came home from school at the start of Spring Break not knowing when they would go back, one year since the trees and wildlife last blossomed even as a tsunami of fear, uncertainty, and loss washed over us humans. Today, I noticed the first buds on the redbud tree in front of my house, one of the first trees to bloom in Austin, Texas. The petite, fuchsia petals touched some sort of internal time clock in my memory, bringing back vivid details of March and April 2020, and winding through the seasons between then and now.


I’ve never spent as much time at home as I have in the past year. While in some ways that has been a relief to the introverted part of me that craved stillness and solitude in a busy modern life, it has also been a reminder that "home" is less a physical space than a feeling. If I were to put words around this sense of home, I might say that it feels like being fully present in my body while also connected to everything and everyone else around me, without self-consciousness or judgment. And though at many points of time this year, I felt this deep sense of connection and rootedness, there were also many times when I felt farther from home than ever. Like the child in the poem, I felt a longing for something I couldn't quite grasp. Not a desire to go back; maybe more like going beyond.


My mom and I have talked about those childhood moments from the poem. She's wondered what I meant when I cried out for home. I can relate to the helplessness she describes in wanting to console me and not knowing how. I can relate to my younger self as well, yearning for something I didn't know how to express.


Sharing and writing about this poem this week has been particularly mind twisting. Each time I sat down to write, it seemed like the words got jumbled up in my head and I couldn't type them out in a way that made any sense to anyone but me. As much as I share myself in writing, this poem feels more intimate than others, and the sharing of it more vulnerable. But then I wondered, maybe you've had this feeling of longing for home, or something like it, too? And maybe through the intimacy and vulnerability, we will find our way home together.