by Susan Ludvigson
It must be genetic, proof that the road
is not a series of signs to be deciphered
but a place the mind already knows.
We never can say how we got there,
but find ourselves back where we started,
hearts pizzicato at every missed turn
in a world designed to dissuade us ever
from leaving home.
Once in a country where I
knew neither landscape nor language,
a new friend lent me his car
and waved me off. I arrived
at a walled city, climbed through a maze
of golden streets and rested in a café.
Later, the missing purse—
passport, money, keys. The name
of my friend’s village gone like a dream
too many hours after waking. Breathless,
blinded by panic, I ran through that network
of narrow lanes, the cobblestones Braille.
At last—the café. The owner shook her finger,
railed, and handed me the bag I’d left,
everything intact. After that I wound my way
through dusk, through villages I had not passed
to the place I’d begun. I think
it’s a kind of grace—like geometry,
where right answers come through paths
we can never retrace—showing we’re blessed.
Lost, lost, we cry, but return
like pigeons whose routes are unerring, unearned