You can’t go home, they say—I’ll grant it’s true.
Of course, by that they mean, It’s not the same,
Reminding us of what we always knew
 
To save our soppy selves from feeling blue
(Later-life nostalgia by another name).
You can’t go home, they say—I’ll grant it’s true.
 
Four-story tenements now block the view
Of our old park, tree tops in twilight’s flame,
Reminding us of what we always knew
 
Of change (we mean decay) as our town grew
Into the sprawling beast we like to blame.
You can’t go home, they say—I’ll grant it’s true.
 
And yet, the church and grounds look almost new
As when at twelve I played the Sunday game,
Reminding me of what a child barely knew
 
Of God and hope and years that swiftly flew.
At the door, I see gray heads and legs grown lame:
You can’t go home, they say—in one sense true . . .
Unless I welcome what I always knew.

(2012)

Memory, Transcience

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