— Dunya Mikhail from In Her Feminine Sign (New Directions, 2019)
I want that place
and you in it as always:
how you remember my flower
kept in the refrigerator.
I want that place
and I in it as always:the candy moon we put
under our pillows
to dream of those who will love
I know the trees
in your garden and how they grow
quietly like grandmothers,and how the gravity pulls light
into your hands.
Mikhail is a journalist and poet in exile, having left Iraq 25 years ago. This love poem longs for uniting not just lover and loved, but lovers and place, lovers and past, present and future in that place. As we continue our own lives in this time of COVID-19, sheltering in isolation, a mild form of exile, even if it is for most of us exile in our own place, this poem spoke to me because home is not just the house and rooms where you sleep and eat but the community you engage with, from commutes to visits to people and places that are part of who you are. I miss the city parks, the museums, restaurants, the homes of friends–and all this is the true place of being, the one that centers on home but reaches beyond to our community. The return to that place is coming but not sooner than safety dictates for our national health. Stay patient and determined and strong.
Read yesterday’s Thought. Thought of the Day (TOD) is selected by Rick Larios, Monday-Friday, minus public holidays and an arbitrarily chosen summer vacation. Saturday and Sunday, Stacey will be selecting TODs from the archives of past postings. Often, but not always, a comment comes with the quote. TOD originates as a personal email list-sharing and is further shared here with permission. A poem appears in full on Fridays; the copyright belongs to the poet and/or publisher. Buy poetry you like. It will be good for you, good for poets, and order from your local community bookstore and it will be good for them too.