Carrying Myself Home
I breathe in mountains, breathe in sky.
From here I can see houses spread out
across time, each like a Russian doll,
with lives within lives, within lives,
each with a kernel of pulsing memory,
a grain of guilt. This town’s a lacquered box,
with a detailed scene from a folktale,
lost in retelling, an embroidery stitched
from a faulty pattern, each deliberate line
winding neatly to unintended directions,
its purpose misremembered. I was born here
and, wherever I’ve travelled, I’ve lived here
all my life. Although I can’t see them,
I know my mother and father are standing
at one of these lighted windows, smiling,
waving, waiting for me to arrive home
with whatever stories I have gathered.
I breathe in the dark river, breathe in myself,
take my first step down the dizzying mountain,
turn my back on the sky.
Oz Hardwick is a York-based writer, photographer and occasional musician. He has been published widely in the UK, Europe and US. His sixth poetry collection, The House of Ghosts and Mirrors, will be published by Valley Press in September 2017. www.ozhardwick.co.uk