I find myself in daily movement:
in that second when the streetlamps are lit
in that strange shiver before the plane takes off
in the excitement of questions yet to be answered.
I dread the will you stay with me
because I do love you
—I do I do I do--
but everything with roots dies and
I do not want to die yet.
It’s easier to write about these things in English because I cannot write about home without
writing in Spanish. Not really. What’s in a language that when using one I can deny my
homeland safely and when using another the words get stuck in my throat like hungry worms?
The word for home in Spanish is hogar. In the dictionary, there’s six definitions for hogar:
a place to live
home can also be
a place where a fire is lit
What does a paper girl do
with a bonfire?
Home: an answer
The truth about home is
that no matter where you are it never ceases to exist:
it’s not a jail or a chain
but a gravitational center to which one can always return.
When you think about the bonfire
think too about the background noise of the cafeteria at university
and of the sky after class on winter evenings
—sometimes like fresh spilled blood
sometimes like a week-old bruise
sometimes like a raw apricot.
Think about the flower shop down the street:
a splash of color so bright in the middle of the smoky asphalt streets of Madrid;
think about the pine trees you get to see every weekend
when you take the bus to go and hug him tight
—and yes, everything smells like a bonfire there
and there’s always some bird singing
and there’s always someone clapping you in the back.
Home does not exist to hold you back,
but to hold you when you need it.