Of course I know
that the land beneath me
was trod by the same people
who built those earth mounds down the road so long ago.
And yes I know
that the earth I walk here
was never really theirs
because it was never really anyone’s at all.
I don’t dispute these facts,
but I still claim this porch here as my home.
I grew up on a porch swing in southeast Ohio,
where the days are lazy and long.
The soundtrack to my childhood was wind chimes,
interrupted at times by barge horns
and thunder so powerful that it occasionally downed dogwoods.
When I went to college, I just traveled deeper into the hills,
so that they were close on all sides of me now
instead of simply marking the horizon outside of town.
My eyes need lines to trace in the distance,
hills or mountains –
they keep me calm.
And I like life best when I am making plans,
literally putting myself up in the air.
I never want to land anywhere flat;
seeing for miles just makes me uneasy, gives me no rest.
I sleep best when I know I can see the stars above me should I so choose,
and I like when there’s water a short ways away.
I don’t need to sing on a highway, but I do need to sing somewhere.
Like when I used to sing on the porch swing.
I also did a lot of waiting there,
for family to visit, for boys to take me out for ice cream, for night to fall.
I read a lot of books, took a lot of naps, and even practiced my clarinet
(sorry neighbors, my parents didn’t want me squeaking in the house).
My brother and I sold green walnuts from a brick porch, too;
but we haven’t been back to that porch in years.
There is a porch at the confluence of two rivers,
and every time I wander, I keep it in my shadow.
Why don’t you meet me there?