Saltwind; When You Come Home

by | Feb 4, 2020 | Issue Thirteen, Poetry


Saltwind is like

acidburn in the nose and throat.

but feels cold in your stomach

like rain in the breeze of

an August day that is just warm enough

to make you forget

what page it is on the calendar.

When you’ve realized,

          you’ve forgotten.

It feels like you’ve betrayed

that part of yourself

that you consider good,

how ever-shrinking the care

with which you tend it is.

I planted black tulips in checker plots

as a reminder to remember

the day I thought I’d never forget.

But the deer know only

that the day is better fed,

and so in place of tulips,

I have stems

and no blossoms to speak of.

When I knew

what it was to know you,

I danced in the image

of who you were,

Took evening trips through

dreams of our shared past,

and tasted saltwind

when I came to

in the morning.

That was your word,


And you used it to mean something
I could never understand, but

I use it all the same

to mean the things you left behind.

The memories boxed-away,

The happiness long past shelf-life.

Your dictionary was dog-eared at M;

the sound which now holds

center-stage when I stare at the black lines

in my notebook: M is a hum.

A gentle remembrance of a sound,

but not one in itself.

It caresses,

 holds ideas.

Warms thoughts until they are born

onto the page through ink-



M is the sound of curbwashed icemelt

when sun blinds

the snowpacked winter streets.

M is indefinable,

because I can’t read your handwriting.

But when I feel for a pulse

in its tear-smudged ink,

I remember your

fainting heartbeat

and the bristling touch of

Saltwind, in the air

That held us,


just beneath your chin

I feel your coughs, still.



like chestrock.

Solid enough to hold me,

 but too distant now

For me

to place a finger on the sound

Of your empty,            drifting breaths,


like the tempo of

gridlock just past rush-hour

or the taste of your first, bad kiss.

But like the letter M

Or saltwind,

I can imagine

That I understand.

And can fall asleep to

The lulling sound

off the face

I no longer


When You Come Home

To Us:

When you come home

in a blackout

            and candles      float

                        like lanterns

on the                          fire escapes,

join me

in dancing throngs of



To Mom:

When you come home

At half-past

                        half-too late

I’ll miss you

in the morning

but I won’t wait

            for you

 at night.

To You:

When you come home

and the fire-hydrant’s burst


with me

            in the spray

            with me

                        for this day

                        with you

                                    is the last we’ll have like this.

No time for play,

it’s all minwage now.

To Us:

When you come home

Or when you don’t.

            Don’t let them

tell you this

is their home


To Me:

When you come home

and mama has a

            black – eye

don’t say who.

To Him:

When you come home

and the shades are drawn

don’t knock

as if you know me.

just leave

            as you came.

To Mom:

When you come home

it will be

 our home

not his


To Me:

When you come home

and it seems like

         anything but        home

know the changes

            like seasons

run in patterns,

 sink in rhymes

To You:

When you come home

I’ll be


like I have been

since the day you left.

Pin It on Pinterest