STAYING HOME

—For Anthony

I dreamt I was packing a bag
with the names of all the things
and all the people I had lost
the names were scrawled on scraps
of paper scattered across the floor
and the bag was already
too heavy to carry

Awake in the hammer of storm
we cannot experience wetness
only hot and cold
only pressure
I motion you closer

In our collective apocalypse
we can’t help reaching for comfort
we can’t stop touching
our faces

Streets are quarantine-empty
a new kind of winter or maybe
they’re just lonely
I read a study says sometimes
people think they are lonely
when really they’re just cold
so we devise a blanket drive
for the broken-
hearted

While I wait, my eyes are getting old
and so are my hands, my hair, my skin

Maybe my American dream doesn’t
have a house or kids, maybe this bridge
is enough
this bridge and these writers
this community, these friends and this rent-
controlled apartment
this weather for motorcycles
this motorcycle

And you?
 
Black birds burst across
a silver skyline
like musical notes
golden melody of melted sunlight
city silent in silhouette

Skyscrapers still break the horizon
soft haze mutes the low-slung sun like a lampshade

I keep trying to capture this bridge
like a butterfly
migration
like gratitude

What we prioritize is what we manifest
I scrawl your name on a scrap of paper
I keep trying to keep you closer
for a moment
I pack a bag
motion of wings and wishing
I keep trying to define
what home means

(place or person)

With animal bones and ash
carapace or carcass
apotheosis of city
city heartbeat
city girl

HOLLIE HARDY is the author of How to Take a Bullet, And Other Survival Poems (2014, Punk Hostage Press). She teaches writing classes at the SF Creative Writing Institute and Berkeley City College and hosts the popular Bay Area reading series Saturday Night Special, an East Bay Open Mic. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and has appeared in numerous literary journals including Red Light Lit, Fourteen Hills, Eleven Eleven, sPARKLE & bLINK, The Common, Parthenon West Review, Bay Area Generations, Oakland Review, Milvia Street Journal, A Sharp Piece of Awesome, Ekphrastic California, and elsewhere.

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