[ToC]

 

RICHARD'S MOTHER CALLS TO ASK WHEN HE IS COMING HOME

Daniel Story

by which she meant Richmond, Virginia,
and he almost corrected her
and said that he was home,
in Chicago, far away, by which
he would have meant that her house
was no longer his home, but then
his apartment wasn't
really his home either,
by which he meant that he could move
to Flagstaff tomorrow without
much psychological difficulty,
but what he actually told her
was, "I don't know when I'm coming home,"
by which he meant he would go
to Richmond sometime in May but
he hadn't figured out exactly
when, but what he really meant
was I don't know if there is such a place
as my home,
he had never found
any geographical designation
to which he was attached the way
people seem to be attached
when they call a place home,
by which he meant that places
slid off of him without leaving a mark
and people frequently told him
that he had no accent at all, by which
they meant that he did not come from a place,
but then they also told him that they knew
someone from their home town
who was just like him, who looked the same
and had the same posture, same sense
of humor and placeless voice,
but he had never met a person who was just like him,            
which meant, to him,
that he was, in a significant way,
both not present at his current location
and present in everyone else's home town,
by which he meant that he had been
to more places than anyone else,
but everyone else
came from one more place than him.

 

 

 

 

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This is a piece of a larger narrative series about two lovers—Richard and Maria—in Chicago. Although these characters are fictional, I've personally been told that my pronunciations are more neutral than a newscaster's.