Hometown

 

Wilda Morris

 

This is the city of my impatience,

the city where I heard train whistles

as a call to wander, the city

where I practiced departure and return.

I had hardly learned to walk

when for the first time, tired

of waiting for Mother, I toddled unafraid

up our unpaved street. My small feet

clad in Buster Brown shoes

headed downtown. Just how far

had I gone before my desperate mother

caught up with me, kissed and scolded me,

took my hand so I could not escape her care?

 

This is this is the city where I slipped

again from the invisible leash

when I was five, while Mother

was distracted with conversation

or commercial transaction. I found

myself alone, stood in front of a bakery

and cried for my lost mother. A stranger

quieted me with a fresh-baked bun,

teaching me the power of tears,

the kindness the world offers a wanderer.

 

I was content to return for a time

to the nest of my home,

but I had become a fledgling.

Someday I would let the train

take me wherever it went.

Someday I would walk in alien cities.

Someday, I would fly.