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What Home Do You Leave?; Why Do I Suddenly Feel Free Of Panic? by Ace Boggess

“What Home Do You Leave?”

[question asked by Grace Welch]

City that held me in its undercurrents:

drug deals, bars at night, bands

that came & went like minor crimes.

That was home: Huntington along the Ohio,

its avenues parallel & perpendicular,

street addresses an easy cypher.

I did things there no one should be proud of:

schemed, plotted, begged. Often,

I played music into the early hours,

drank vodka, snorted lines off a dinner plate.

I hid amongst people who didn’t know my fears

as if a forest shielding me from devils.

“Why Do I Suddenly Feel Free of Panic?”

—Robert Bly, “Thoughts in the Cabin”

It’s not me going under,

wrapped in paper clothing,

tested, intubated, scoped,

scrutinized like a purpling cadaver.

I’m the driver. Future perfect.

Concertgoer eager for the show

to end. It’s not me poisoned

by the pinprick of sleep,

revealing what I keep hidden.

I know how to pass the time.

I’ve wasted more than I should’ve.

I’m good at it. A man my age

had better be good at something.


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