Poem in progress: Home

Photo by cdsessums, Flickr Creative Commons

This week’s Monday poetry stretch is to write a poem about home. After the past few years’ missings, leavings and moves, I found these words (and a cat) waiting when I sat down to write.

And as I’ve been memorizing poetry, the latest being Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Kindness,” this poem contains several nods to “Kindness.” Meaning, I stole much of the first line and took inspiration from Nye liberally.

Here’s a third draft of what’s still a work in progress.


Before you know what home really is
you must leave, feel its cool shade thinning
as you drive away. You must spend Sundays
on another couch, catless, no gentle quilt nearby,
no dim room with a narrow bed that knows
your form. Before you learn the density of home,
you must sit alone with your pizza, remembering
neighbors’ front yard games, boys who shrugged
off boundaries, driveway and hedge, tall windows
framing them like curled photos in an album
handed down. You must smell the garlic air,
how it lingered days after the soup was gone
from the chipped white stove, know again
the damp porch step where you heard the moon
whisper, This world is larger than your questions.
You must hum the creak of the faded red door
as you enter another place, empty,
crave the embrace, call Hello?
again, feel it calling you

(c) 2012 Stephanie Parsley
(with nods to Naomi Shihab Nye)


Missed Connections

The poetry challenge this Monday was to write a “personal ad” poem. I immediately started thinking of the “missed connections” section of the classified ads of many local weekly papers. The ads go something like this:

I was working the counter at Cimarron Coffee. You ordered the cafe au lait, and I forgot the steamed milk. I said I was sorry, but I meant to say you distracted me with your loveliness and would you want to have a beer together soon. Please come back in.

I’ve been memorizing poetry lately during my spare time at work. A certain poem was on my mind when I wrote my personal ad poem:

Photo by Andrew Beebe, Flickr Creative Commons

Missed Connections: You, on the Horse

Last solstice,
During the great snow,
You stopped by my woods.
I heard your horse’s bells,
Caught their silver glint beneath
The moon, discerned your snow-lit
Cheek. I saw you there, I did.
These woods are lonely.
Come back soon.
Come back soon.
(c) Stephanie Parsley 

(Thanks once again to The Miss Rumphius Effect for the challenge.)

P.S. In researching Missed Connections ads, I came across a beautifully illustrated book of missed connections. The author, Sophie Blackall, also has a blog full of her work.