Home Going

by Tiffani S. Ren


Don’t be the woman who stays

stays to be with a man, giving up

the opportunity of a refreshing, terrifying blank slate,

The wild possibility of the things you could do

with that blankness, what could you fill it with–

So don’t be that silly woman who falls easily into the heterosexual trope of

choosing romance over aspirations  

Your schooling simply doesn’t permit you to

Your schooling also asserts

women married to men don’t achieve liberation

But you still want to be connected at the joint with him,

have a joint library and joint ownership

of two lovely dogs from the local rescue

named Woolf and Ulysses

So don’t be selfish don’t have other priorities and don’t

abandon him for other lives

Your desperation for love and love of him forbids you to

But say you go,

back to China like men on the street tell you to,

In some search for home,

To see if a sense of home is really passed down

the ways brown eyes and a penchant for rice are

In search of inspiration,

In search of the little determined houses again

that you once saw climbing on top of each another on their way to the mountain top

In search of tongues like the one you lost in childhood,

           a tongue to match the ear they never could take away from you

In search of dissonance

           for the moment you realize, not for the first time and not the last,

           that you are a bastard hybrid,

perhaps a bastard without home

           anywhere except among other misfits

He asks you why, why not a vacation destination

           why not the beaches of Spain?

He says he doesn’t understand why

you’re insistent on going to this place that is not home—are you trying to make it home?

will you ever come back from it?

isn’t home with him ? why would you leave home in pursuit of another?

And suddenly you don’t know either

How to explain to anyone that you’re missing body parts

           that you have gaps where there shouldn’t be gaps

           a need to find out where home is by exploring where it could be hiding

           and a yearning for dissonance, for the internal strife and wrangling,

           a yearning to hold yourself as you change under the pressure

           as if by yearning for it, by pushing forth seeking precisely that,

it will hurt you less


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