by A.J. Huffman

I met her in a bus station.
She was tired.
And hiding.
I tried to make small talk.
And succeeded.
Until I asked where she was going.
“Home,” she whispered.
Then quickly turned away.
But not soon enough.
I still saw it.
The ruby slipper lost in her eyes.
It was soiled and stained.
And sad
ly responsible for the single drop of blood
slowly tracing her cheek.
(“No Place. Like Home?” was originally published in Eclectica and is reprinted here today with permission from the poet.)
A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has previously published her work in literary journals, in the U.K. as well as America, such as Avon Literary Intelligencer, Eastern Rainbow, Medicinal Purposes Literary Review, The Intercultural Writer’s Review, Icon, Writer’s Gazette, and The Penwood Review.

Editor’s Note: Sometimes I have this feeling about going home. A feeling of the sadness inherent in the return. Of the people I left behind and now have to face in my shame for having done so. Of the illnesses my loved ones suffer that I am not brave enough to endure day-to-day. Of all the memories I had to turn from in order to live my own individuated life. This poem, in its simple story, in its short lines and quick vignette, encompasses not only my experience, my own private pain, but also all the other stories of all the people in the world who suffer in their returns. Of ruby slippers lost in telling eyes, soiled and stained.

Want to read more by and about A.J. Huffman?
Precious Metals Poetry
A Brilliant Record
Quantum Poetry
The Literary Burlesque
Mad Swirl
Cherry Blossom Review
Oysters and Chocolate (NSFW, Parental Advisory)

About Sivan Butler-Rotholz

Sivan is the Managing Editor of the Saturday Poetry Series on As It Ought To Be and holds an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a professor, writer, editor, comic artist, and attorney emerita. She is also the founder of Reviving Herstory. Sivan welcomes feedback, poetry submissions, and solicitations of her writing via email at sivan.sf [at] gmail [dot] com.
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  1. Maya Elashi says:

    now this is poetry (!) … i particularly love the ee cumming’sish ending line.

  2. Deborah says:

    She was tired.
    And hiding.

    Is it just that we often return home, or to our talisman of home, when we’re tired, defeated, and small? Because some of us felt tired, defeated, and small when we were small, when we were home.

  3. Sivan says:

    “[S]ome of us felt tired, defeated, and small when we were small, when we were home.” Now this is not only an excellent summation of this poem, but could be a poem in and of itself!

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