Today's poem is by Jessica Goodfellow

: Shadow : Dwelling :

Dwelling in a foreign land. Time is the only familiar
tableau, last locus. Even your shadow falls aslant here,
aping you strangely, or are you really hunched and scurrying
along the sidewalk? When did you grow so much
smaller? It is easy to become nostalgic. One easy thing.
Clearly time is not a landscape to make a home in.
Your beloved, in whose beloved city you now dwell,
agrees one of you has an advantage. But which one?
Remind your beloved that dwell comes from the Old
English, meaning to lead astray, to wander. As ravel
has come to be both unravel and also its opposite, you
point out, twisting your key ring in your fingers.
Abide then, say you abide here, suggests your beloved,
remembering too late that abide also means to endure,
to tolerate, to bear. Are all the words for holding still
so fraught? You both settle on reside, free
of overtones, swinging your legs over the balcony
that overlooks the park where you go sometimes
alone to feed the little yellow birds that remind you
of your childhood home. Neither you nor your beloved
suggests you claim to live here. Secretly you think
you dwell here, you are raveling, you are unraveling—
becoming opposite, and opposite’s opposite. Only
your shadow lives here, still having everything
it has always had. Because your body is its roof.
Because you are its home. Its homeless home.

Copyright © 2007 Jessica Goodfellow All rights reserved
from Beloit Poetry Journal
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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