A Space for Writers of the World
for Agha Shahid Ali
She speaks my name like it’s an aging home—
old as patience—like home waiting for home.
I didn’t mean to walk away stumbling
with the intent of forgetting my home.
If I can drive back without needing sleep—
I tend to call those places close to home.
Hallelujah and Grace are different
but both of them feels like a phone call home.
If on the corner of Love and Desire—
homeless and heartbroke—would you call that home?
My language of loss has no ear to hear,
no lips to mouth the words come, back, and home.
Something, someone, somewhere back in Warm Springs
has a tendency of calling me, Home.
I have loved enough to call something home:
rivers, lakes, forests, and the graveled road.
The homeless should be night time cab drivers
with their innate knowledge of city roads.
Afternoon convection: each windy gust
defines and redefines these dusty roads.
Who shouts out with a throat full of longing:
Where are you, Jerry, and why the Red Road?
Beloved, don’t feel exiled
for what we have both witnessed:
a country within a country
and neither with a border.
Jerry Brunoe grew up on the Warm Springs Reservation as a Toe Good Wasco boy driving his mother crazy. His poetry has appeared in Yellow Medicine Review, Basalt, Red Earth Review, Red Ink, Naugatuck River Review, Contrary, Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas, and others. He pretends to know what he is doing at Toe Good Poetry.