To go back to your hometown
and find it doesn’t recognize you.
To see your old house bedraggled
like hand-me-downs left to Goodwill –
gutters stripped, azaleas gone for no good
reason except it’s not your home.
To dread awkward reunions almost as much
as not running into anyone you know.
To get a little lost, finding landmarks
have run away with your childhood.
To startle at the silver-haired man
walking by who’s too much like your dad.
To feel gutted by the gap that was
your high school, but jealous
of a new museum and elegant restaurants
where you’ll never have a favorite table.
To understand this strange place
doesn’t feel like home, but always will be.
by Alarie Tennille, first published in Poetry Breakfast.
Editor’s note: Careful enjambments and clear imagery highlight the bittersweet touch of nostalgia in this poem.