Going Home, in January

by Linda Taylor Issue: Spring 2015
You get as close as a mile,
         then walk in, cracking heels
to the depth of each leaf.

Oaks are down, ice on twigs and stiff
         weeds. You pull three days
of clothes from the frozen shelf,

pick your way back down to your car,
         find a cheap motel.  
There, a woman cries and cries

because of something someone said.
         She licks the tears from her lip.
She says she can’t remember

what they say, only how
         their lips are and what they do
with their hands,

whether their face is loving
         or not. You walk her back
to the van where her baby

sleeps and her Cherokee husband
         picks his teeth and smiles at you
through his thin mustache.

She climbs into the back seat
         with the boards and dust.
An hour later you see the van.  

It nearly hits you as
         you start to turn left.  The woman sits
on the seat.  She looks toward

the moon, and eventually,
         your eyes, blank as the freezing
light shining in.


Linda Taylor has published over 90 poems, in The Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, Black Warrior Review, The Ohio Review, The Georgia Review, Tar River Poetry, Permafrost, Nimrod, Poetry Northwest and other journals. Her work in the Indiana Review was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 2008 and 2012 her book manuscript was a semi-finalist in the University of Wisconsin Press poetry first book competition, and a finalist in the White Pine Press first book competition.

She teaches literature and creative writing at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. She advocates for the environment in Georgia and spends time on the Oregon coast. Recently she traveled to Tanzania to research the landscape, life and work of archaeologist Mary Leakey.