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Coming Home

Today’s poem is “Coming Home” by Elilzabeth Tibbets. She’s the author of two books of poems, Perfect Selves (Oyster River Press) and In the Well (Bluestem Press). She lives in Hope and worked as a nurse.

She writes, “I read in a group reading in which a young woman stood up and read a sensuous poem. She seemed so unencumbered by life, as though she belonged to a different species than I did. A few days later I was driving home from Rockland and saw this enormous pink moon rise and the first few lines filled my head. By the time I arrived home thirty minutes later, the whole poem had come. It needed only minor revision; It was as though it had sailed in from somewhere else, or had been constructing itself beneath consciousness. My husband and I had just purchased a new refrigerator. Our house was not much and we didn't have much money at the time. It was very shiny!"

Coming Home
by Elizabeth Tibbetts

Oh, God, the full-faced moon is smiling at me
in her pink sky, and I’m alive, alive (!)
and driving home to you and our new refrigerator.
A skin of snow shines on the mountain beyond Burger King
and this garden of wires and poles and lighted signs.
Oh, I want to be new: I want to be the girl I saw
last night at the mike, sex leaking from her fingertips
as they traveled down to pick at her hem.
She was younger than I’ve ever been, with hair cropped,
teeth glistening, her shimmering body written
beneath her dress. She held every man in the audience
taut, and I thought of you. Now I’m coming home
dressed in my sensible coat and shoes, my purse
and a bundle of groceries beside me. When I arrive
we’ll open the door of our Frigidaire
to its shining white interior, fill the butter’s
little box, set eggs in their hollows, slip meats
and greens into separate drawers, and pause
in the newness of the refrigerator’s light
while beside us, through the window,
the moon will lay a sheet on the kitchen floor.

Poem copyright © 2002 Elizabeth Tibbetts.
Reprinted from In the Well, Bluestem Press, 2002,
by permission of Elizabeth Tibbetts.