This Was Home

Dane Hamann
Where have your wanderings finally brought you,
I wondered, finger-tracing the crease-cut roadmap

you flattened in with your letter. You spoke of fields
thorned with iron shavings, broken railway ties soaked

sweet with creosote, and mounds of soot that sat
like cooked fleas alongside faint trails of ruts

and weeds. You said you thought that the tons†
of barkless trees were stacks of sun-bleached bones.

You didnít know what to do with them, the mounds
and the bones, but you figured one would become

the other soon anyway. You wrote that when you looked
into gray canals from empty bridges, only the famished

sky glared back. And that the last ember of recognition
nearly drowned before you realized that this was home.

Dane Hamann works as an editor for a textbook publisher in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University, where he also currently serves as the poetry editor of TriQuarterly. His poems are published or forthcoming in Cobalt Review, Jet Fuel Review, Lines + Stars, and Water~Stone Review, among other places.

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