The Return

Thank you to Robin Lynn, of, for sending us this beautiful poem:

The Return


Some day, if you are lucky,

you’ll return from a thunderous journey

trailing snake scales, wing fragments

and the musk of Earth and moon.


Eyes will examine you for signs

of damage, or change

and you, too, will wonder

if your skin shows traces


of fur, or leaves,

if thrushes have built a nest

of your hair, if Andromeda

burns from your eyes.


Do not be surprised by prickly questions

from those who

barely inhabit

their own fleeting lives, who barely taste

their own possibility, who barely dream.


If your hands are empty, treasureless,


your toes have not grown claws,

if your obedient voice has not

become a wild cry, a howl,


you will reassure them. We warned you,

they might declare, there is nothing else,

no point, no meaning, no mystery at all,

just this frantic waiting to die.


And yet, they tremble, mute,

afraid you’ve returned without sweet

elixir for unspeakable thirst, without

a fluent dance

or holy language

to teach them, without a compass

bearing to a forgotten border where

no one crosses without weeping

for the terrible beauty of galaxies


and granite and bone. They tremble,

hoping your lips hold a secret,

that the song your

body now sings

will redeem them, yet they fear


your secret is

dangerous, shattering,

and once it flies from your astonished

mouth, they-like you-must


before unfolding tremulous wings.


– Geneen Marie Haugen

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