Poetry Archive

What I mean when I say I’m going home

Photo by Frédéricke Boies on Unsplash
Damaged safety is all a home could ever give
Take my gummy smiles, trade them for jaded edges
Grew up watered with bleach, rose petal sized bruises
Constantly mistaking love for misplaced too little, too late apologies
No apologies, just silences scarfed down between bites of chicken and rice
We lament together in the abuses of so-called protectors
Before dodging each other’s blows to heads and hearts
Unknown to care, gentle care, the sitcom type of care
Except that we’ve memorized care
        in how we put salve on each other’s wounds
        If only to split them open later        after all what good are bitter memories
        If not to be used as red-hot pokers at our weakest
        In how our best jokes hide away layers of suffering
Crueler villains could not exist except those that learned the language of trauma along-side you
More soothing nurses could not exist except those that speak that same language
Home is knowing the dark origin story of your story’s villain
        Is the same as your own
You’ve carved out safety in the damages you share

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Filed under: Poetry Archive


Ladan Hadafow is a writer, poet, biologist, and educator. Tracing back her hometown is work reminiscent of phylogeny but start in Somalia, jump to Kenya, then Egypt, then Portland, OR and finally land in Minnesota where she hibernates through the nine months of winter. Ladan is a Leo, kdrama fiend, and a kindred soul to Yzma. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Papeachu Press and Gumbo Media.