Desire for home

Some poems give you that anvil-out-of-the-sky feeling. This poem hit me square between the eyes (and ears) this morning. My parents didn’t stay together–perhaps for reasons so eloquently stated in this poem. Faith is an interesting word choice here. She could have used trust, overworked and tired, but she didn’t. To know faith in another, to also know faith in yourself when you’re with them is to find a sort of home. I believe this is a notion toward which searching and striving is worth the effort.

On Faith

by Cecilia Woloch

How do people stay true to each other?
When I think of my parents all those years
in the unmade bed of their marriage, not ever
longing for anything else—or: no, they must
have longed; there must have been flickerings,
stray desires, nights she turned from him,
sleepless, and wept, nights he rose silently,
smoked in the dark, nights that nest of breath
and tangled limbs must have seemed
not enough. But it was. Or they just
held on. A gift, perhaps, I’ve tossed out,
having been always too willing to fly
to the next love, the next and the next, certain
nothing was really mine, certain nothing
would ever last. So faith hits me late, if at all;
faith that this latest love won’t end, or ends
in the shapeless sleep of death. But faith is hard.
When he turns his back to me now, I think:
disappear. I think: not what I want. I think
of my mother lying awake in those arms
that could crush her. That could have. Did not.
“On Faith” by Cecilia Woloch, from Late. © BOA Editions, 2003. Reprinted with permission
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