Homeless in August | wisconsinacademy.org
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Homeless in August

Honorable Mention Poem from our 2015 Poetry Contest

The new bed rests where the old
one was, but he will not
set paw on its new-smelling
softness; instead, sticks his nose under
the old rug wadded for trash, sighs
for what still smells like home.

Moved to the bleached Alzheimer’s unit, your mother,
bereft of smell and direction, pleads,
“I just want to go home.”
And again, over and over again,
“Let me go home. Please.
Please, take me back home.”

Home was my big sister, 
how easy we were together,
laughing, wrestling, dabbing our sweaty wrists 
and necks with “Evening in Paris.”
One night she complained of headache, then took
two days to die from polio.

So far this seems to be a kinder August.
The locusts sing a less threatening song.
After years of commutes, you are home.
Red, fragrant flowers blossom from our walls.
With luck, their scent will stay, while
comfort, like August, will come, will go.

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Kathleen A. Dale was born in Kansas, though she has lived on the shore of Lake Michigan for many years. She and her husband have three grown daughters and two grandsons.

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