OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 7
Ode to Maine (And Coming Home Afterward)
The congregations of granite and lime
settle aloud like falling trees, and the people
mumble in their sharp rhotic accent,
and the deer like fleeting household apparitions
disappear into the thicket, and
I am lying on my back in a sundress
that doesn’t belong to me, heavy sand
sticking to the balls of my feet.
The sun doesn’t know how not
to cast its wet glimmer over the bay,
and I don’t know how to not
to eat two slices of blueberry pie.
I don’t want to go home,
to forget to close the windows and leave
the curtains blowing parallel to moonlight,
to drop off like buds of water off leaves,
but the week is ending.
I let the gulls peck at my little finger,
like a pinky promise to always return
like the monarchs after their yearly
flight somewhere warmer.
There is always something to return to.
Being swaddled in my own sheets like
a newborn brought home for the first time,
the sun and the dew kissing my ankles
each time I step outside on those
August mornings, surrounding myself
with familiar faces and honey smooth voices
at the kitchen table, a homey, worn thing.
So I’ll take the four hour redeye flight.
I’ll take the perfume spilling in my suitcase.
I will miss the granite and lime and deer,
but I have missed more the humidity that
parts to make space for me as I walk,
hand in hand with someone I have missed most.
And really, it’s not about the landscape I’m returning to.
I can bask on a gravel beach all I want,
but it doesn’t match melting into your couch,
your arm draped around me like algae
clutching an underwater stone.
I have seen it all. I am ready to come back,
to knock the sand out of my sneakers
and fall into the gentle silence of your house.
Grace Lytle is a poet from Houston. She has previously been published by Canvas Literary Journal and 45th Parallel Magazine, among others. She is a 2018 Houston Youth Poet Laureate Finalist.