The Direction of Home


Photo by Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images

The snow remembers once it was fruit,
steps taken in the direction of home,

stems poked out, embedded ice homed
in a melted casing, what we once suckled.

Apples and pears, a song easily suckled.
Eyes burned like a spell cast over figurines.

The more the snow melts into figurines.
Hope sliced and baked into a crimped tart.

The road reads all the names of fruit tarted,
forgotten, bread out of Kyiv’s existence,

manicured, filed down, a city’s waxed existence
bombed and strained under a lamp.

What’s left—a suitcase, a doll, a lamp
and only gas money but no banks.

How far must we travel with snowbanks
melting us into a new direction of home?

About the Poem

The strongest image I find for refugees’ flight from Russia’s destruction of human life in Ukraine cities is snow. That image contrasts with the cozy indoor safety and life of people having to leave all that, and that’s where the image of baking came to mind. Polar opposites. The only hope lies through the snow in a new home.

About the Author

Laurel Benjamin is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she invented a secret language with her brother. She has work forthcoming or published in Lily Poetry Review, Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down: An Anthology of Women’s Poetry, South Florida Poetry Journal, Trouvaille Review, One Art, Ekphrastic Review, Wordpeace, The Thieving Magpie, Black Fox, Hare’s Paw, California Quarterly, Mac Queens Quinterly, among others. She is affiliated with the Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and the Port Townsend Writers, and holds an MFA from Mills College. She is a reader for Common Ground Review. She has appeared in Topical Poetry in the past. Find her blog at: Find her on Twitter at @lbencleo

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