The Country of Nostalgia


If childhood is the country we all come from,

From the Greek roots

flat brown ropes of rivers tying the continents

nostos (returning home) and

to the sea, trees scurried in a wash

algos (pain or longing).

of summer wind, if the nights I spent

With the success

tented beneath my sheets with a flashlight

of the neologism

say something about what it meant to be a boy

people forgot

compelled by books, if the time I passed

the origin of the word:

in hiding, harbored from the searchlights

a medical condition

of squad cars or fathers jabbing into every room

in which “the pain

with their anger and an old bat, if the time I dropped

a sick person feels

white crosses with Olshansky and ran miles

because he wishes

to the Dairy Queen counts for more than decadence,

to return to

it means we can never go home. Although there are

his native land,

lands where everyone’s from somewhere else

and fears never to see it

and they speak my name even as I tie up

again” can be fatal.

to the dock, islands green as wine bottles

(Johannes Hofer, 1688).

where I can drop my hand into the valley

By the 1800s it lost

between your legs and we can work together,

the status of a disease;

like the old gods, to make the new earth bloom, I say,

although cases

whatever heaven there is I lived there, navigating

occasionally resulted

through those summer nights when the air thrilled

in death and late as

with pollen and dust and the heat beat wings above

the Civil War

my bed and I read until my mother woke and untied

soldiers were treated

the light from my hand and pushed me into

by being sent home.

the deep water of sleep.