poems of relocation

as bryan and i prepare for our 6th move in 7 years (my 5th different state to live in!), and i pull out the packing tape and box things up room by room, and i think about all those past moves. how easy it was to pack and move to boston, just us two and the car full of stuff we could’ve left behind. how difficult it was to move to the kentucky farmhouse, so pregnant and wanting so badly to have a more permanent place to call home.

i’ve not found many poems on the subject, but i’ve written many on relocating, moving, digging up roots from one home to plant another. moving can be emotional and difficult–changing so much of your day to day, everything about your day to day, from where you sleep to who you see at the grocery store. its also exciting–the new opportunity, all the possibility, not knowing, exactly, what your new life will be like.

This is a poem, found in Keeping Me Still, that I wrote around 2009 i think, when moving from tennessee to massachusetts:

Moving North

We learn an empty house,
the look of a room as a cavity
to be filled. We learn to portion
and take everything to keep,
in labeled boxes that make
angles and a jigsaw fit.

In the story, the sisters cut portions
from their feet, to fit
the shoe. The prince knew
when the blood seeped
over the bridge of the foot,
down the pointed heel.

Cushion wedding
dishes with winter
sweaters, cradle picture frames
with newspaper, perfumes
with plastic bags.

Nothing will break.
It will all fit.

In the Smokies, vacationing
and young, we ate
at a catfish place where you
catch and kill from a pool.

Walking in, my sister’s shoe
(She was walking in
my shoes, that did not fit) fell
in the water. My sisters
held my heels, and I reached,

belly in the slime of the concrete bank,
and I pulled her shoe from the waters.

The boxes shift in the back.
The rear window, obscured.
The sun, obscured by clouds
rolling in from the North.
from Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing)


what are some of your favorite poems about moving, relocation, a new home?


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