Home: A Listography

By Annie Zidek

Home is something you know too well. It’s good and bad, abusive and loving. Home is snippets of life scattered nonlinear in blank spaces and in falling blossoms and in mom’s shadow. Home is everywhere for me, so here is a list of things I found too familiar:

  • Your lineage dates before the Babylonians, before the mapping of the stars and man’s discrepancies. South Carolina bitterness laps at your tongue, and cicada shells pile up in your closet. These are southern formalities. You knocked over red candles in my sister’s room. It was carpet. It stained. Everytime I walk past I see the first bloodshed, our own civil war. Dig up the bones of our carcassa gossamer of unforetold signs and interlaced stars. She did not rot; she waxed and waned, waiting for you and for her resurrection.

  • They all leave in misty Saturday mornings. They rip out bottom jaws, clean cuts without blood or hesitation. Half my lips are gone, and They are just ghosts with warm shoulders and fiery arms. My mom said they all leave, and I will tell my daughter to expect nothing but broken backs and coffee rings. They all leave.
  • It rained bohemian crystal for four days, and no one could step outside with bleeding feet. But we walk through cobblestone streetsunsteadyand dance with Saint Wenceslaus and banter with over half a bottle of riesling. We see our breathes join everyone else’s. Dad climbs astronomical clocks in hopes of better futures, which tarot readers could not see.
  • Tumbling in parking lots with Spanish lullabies brings forth no conclusions. All I know is there are three dots on your neck: an equilateral triangle. Symmetry is comfortable. It’s all worth the spilt coffee and burning hands because when I hear jangling keys and reserved footsteps, I look up. Jesus, don’t cry.
  • Your tattoos are a balancing act, and you whisper in German. Ignore brain research: the results are inconclusive. Focus on the knots in your back instead, the mounds of glory and deceit you’ve studied and know too well. We sit in between two mirrors; is this a ritual or a mind game? It doesn’t matter as long you don’t stop singing about Russian composers, and tell us about your faint past.
  • These things I saw: drinks coffee black, crooked teeth, a freckle behind your left ear, pigeon toed, bitten fingernails, ribs. These things I missed: Picasso and lovers lost and everything in between. All I know is "Ok wait now I’ve gotten too angry to talk right now I don’t want to say something I’ll regret. Can we talk about this later when I’ve calmed down." The only grounds for divorce were irreconcilable differences.
  • Planets aligncalculated but unplanned. The sun and the moon and Mars and Venus grace us with their love and plunge into our hearts, pulling the tide up to the point where it teases our feet. Lake Michigan screams, “It’s a shame we can’t count the stars!” Instead we count all of the emanating buildings polluting the night air (341). But it really doesn't matter because these towers are the closest I’ve ever come to love.

Most of these homes are in the past, places and people and times I considered a part of me, but all my homes are nonstructural and impermanent: they are flesh and blurred memories and roaring feelings. They cannot be counted or measured, and that’s what makes them home.