Going Back

Written by: Edmund Siejka

I put out the cigarette
Rubbing my hands to keep warm
And take a last look
Tomorrow morning
I’m leaving this room
Going back home
The woman I married,
The one with the light brown hair,
Now graying at the temples
Says it’s been a long time.

I travel past open fields
That stretch forever
Ride on concrete highways
That seem to disappear in the horizon
Cross steel bridges
Suspended over cities and towns 
And places nowhere on the map
The road back
Is not that easy. 

Friends tell me
That my daughter,
Once a little darling with curls,
Is grown up now
With her own family
My son,
Anger in his eyes
Impatience in his soul,
Wants to leave 
Just to go anywhere.

The trip’s ended
I stand in the doorway
Wife and I 
Stare at each other
In awkward silence
And I remember
We never did talk that much
She breaks the stillness
Her voice matter of fact
“There’s a plate for you in the kitchen
Eat it while it’s still warm.”
As I walk by
She touches my arm
Her gesture saying more
Than words could ever say
Pulling up a chair
I look around
The familiar kitchen
It feels good
To be back home.