Searching for Home

FullSizeRender (10)

image by Rebekah Choat

Once I needed to leave home.
My time had come to travel,
to start fresh far away.

And so I went away,
not knowing that home
cannot be reached by travel.

It took a while to travel
far enough away
to see I wasn’t finding home.

So I put away my travel shoes and built a home.

~ Rebekah Choat

 

Fan Letter

Dear Miss Rossetti, I remember you
long though it is since you have gone away.
Perhaps when you turned it was late for you;
yet your words counsel me and help me pray.

Though darkness and corruption worry, still,
a vestige of your thoughts also remains.
I mark your footprints on the road uphill
and seek myself the inn toward which you strained.

I’ve felt the weight of sorrow and sea-sand
and seen the brevity of spring and youth;
I’ve thought at times I’d almost seen the wind,
and all but drowned in ocean depths of truth.

I hear the bird sing in the apple tree,
and long for that birthday to come to me.

~ Rebekah Choat

Portrait of my Grandmother

apron

 

The hands that tied this apron on every morning
that I can remember first picked a hundred pounds
of cotton in a day at age five.
They wrote out sums and spelling words
through eighth grade, then went back
to the more necessary work of picking
peaches, beans, cotton, whatever was in season.

They accepted a simple silver band from
the also-calloused hands of a mechanic
one day right in the middle of the Great Depression,
and they laid down the tow sack and picked up the apron.

Those hands cared for a man and his clothes,
their house and their babies.
They cooked three hot meals every day
and washed up the dishes by hand.
They made the clothes and the quilts,
and ran them through the wringer washer,
and hung them on the line to dry.

Those hands cut and combed and braided hair.
They bound up cuts and burns
and placed cool cloths on fevered foreheads.
They canned peaches and made piecrust
and fried chicken and carried food
to new mothers and grieving widows.
They wrote letters, cut coupons and paper dolls,
and taught smaller hands to crochet.

Those hands planted and watered and weeded.
They could put a dry stick in a pot of dirt  and it
would grow. They ironed other women’s husbands’
shirts to pick up a few dollars here and there.
They cleaned the church on Wednesday mornings
and put dimes in the offering plate on Sundays.

Those hands were never idle until they were
folded on her breast in a peaceful pose.

Some people’s lives are written on their faces.
My grandmother’s story was held in her hands.

~ Rebekah Choat

April Fooling

April Fooling

 image by Rebekah Choat

Shining morning turn-
i
ng to storm-
ing without warning:

pounding raining, wild
wind gusting,
thundering raging,

roaring, screaming, then
relenting,
gradual gentling,

sudden sun gleaming,
breeze sweeping
streaming clouds away. 

                        ~ Rebekah Choat

A Birthday

2014-03-20 17.04.12-1

My heart is like a singing bird
whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple tree
whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
that paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
and peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes;
in leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
is come, my love is come to me.

~ Christina Rossetti