Home, a four letter word, home, something outside of a physical context— there is no direct phrase for “going home” in German, there is “gehen nach Hause” or “gehen zu Hause”, both meaning something like “going to house” but it’s more abstract than that, because lately I’ve been nach Hause gegangen to see you with both your hands in watermelon-shaped oven mitts and pulling something that’s very good out of the oven. The watermelon comes from an old place distant in my memory, I was not home then, I was at a Kroger and saw the ugly seeds, I buried them in the garden with those old pet birds for good measure. The fabric sprouted the next season.
Or, it didn’t. It really didn’t. There’s no house I call home, there’s a little subleased apartment with kitschy knick-knacks covering every surface (let’s take attendance: watermelon oven mitts, kewpie doll heads, a small crystal ball, snow globes from every home we’ve seen before, etc.) There’s you, a slender boy with milk-fair hair, you as my home. I walk into the garden and lean against the doorframe and you come up behind me and kiss the back of my neck.
You are the very sunflowers that grow out of me. And, at the clothesline it is like love. Our shirts dance in the wind. A sock has fallen! I pick it up, you peel the petals of a rose back to check for insects. Our tomatoes are not yet ripe, but I have the plastic earrings to prove they can be. It is something like home, exactly like home, my finicky heart has to admit.
You are the very sunflowers that grow out of me, reach towards the sky like hands from the ground. Fingers leafy, the fleshy thumbs yellow petals. My hair, my petals, is too long. We’ll cut it tonight with fabric scissors. Give me something to frame my face like a family portrait. Give me something to frame my argument like nach Hause.