Coming Home

Alice Friman Click to

AliceAlice Friman’s sixth full-length collection of poetry is The View from Saturn, LSU. Her Vinculum, won the 2012 Georgia Author of the Year Award in Poetry. She is a recipient of a 2012 Pushcart Prize and is included in Best American Poetry 2009.  She now lives in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she is Poet-in-Residence at Georgia College. Her podcast series Ask Alice is sponsored by the Georgia College MFA program and can be seen on YouTube.

Click to hear Alice Friman read her poem, “Coming Home”

Early March, and a pale
sky tightens down spiteful.
What clump of green there is
seems vulgar, out of place,
superfluous as last year’s
newspaper or the curtain
in that front window, shredded
into abstraction. And if he felt
the target of a pair of eyes
or a ghost giggle from behind
a hedge, after sixty years away,
the mind plays tricks. He blinked,
wiped his glasses, blew into
his hands against the cold,
then lingered on the porch,
listening for the whine
of the battered Electrolux
being jerked around on
its leash, the dusty swish
of a rag. Nothing had changed—
the old push-pull of stasis,
the ugly guy wires of stock still.
But he’ll not enter, not trust
the old key to the old lock.
He knows better. For what if,
for story’s sake, he’s tempted
to brave the long hallway again,
past the yawning closet of
mildew and wet mackinaws
and smell? Then the dash to
his room and down on his knees
to peer under his bed the way
he used to, looking for creatures
that fidget in the dark, waiting
just waiting to snatch him up?
How pitiable those monsters
of childhood turned out to be.
As if anything could have spirited
him away, rescued him from this.

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One Response to Coming Home

  1. Amanda Newton says:

    Friman’s “Coming Home” illustrates the descent into childlike perspective that occurs when one returns home. Her work aptly describes the often demeaning return to adolescent fear and attitude that comes rushing back upon arriving back home.

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