Travelling Alone

Dark corner, two a.m. Seaside villages in Greece don’t need street lamps.
On the shore, throbbing lights from discos provide illumination for tourists.

But we are not on the shore, rather in some alley, backed against a whitewashed wall
my filmy white skirt the only barrier against your insistent pressing.

Our light/dark skin slick with salt and sweat, the space that binds us
fragrant with Mediterranean cedar, lemon, Retsina.

Between kisses we try to discuss condoms in fractured English while
two streets over drunken revellers sing and stumble the path to their hotel.

The inebriated serenade halts mid-refrain. Arrhythmic scuffle, fading foot-flight.
Shouts. Sonofabitch! That sonofabitch tookmywallet.

Inside our preoccupation with hands and lips the tone of night has shifted. There are
dangers here.

Suddenly I am aware of your size, the power in your arms, the span of your chest
against mine, the air a thick cloak loaded with the overwhelming scent of heat.

Our eyes meet, struggle to find a common language. In the end
I am lucky: You gather me in a single arm, offer to walk me home,

kiss me goodnight
at the door.

~ Suzanne Harris

Suzanne Harris is a writer, editor and writing coach living in Edmonton. She has been writing professionally for over 17 years, but has only recently come to poetry. She sometimes wonders what on earth took her so long.

“Home, to my mind, is a place where one is deeply connected to something larger than oneself. It is not only physical, but spiritual. Home may be a family, a house, a place, a community, a landscape, or all of these things. On any given day my home may be found in my pen and notebook. A poem. A piece of music. A rocky point on Horseshoe Bay. The rain on my office window. My son’s blonde head pressed against my ribs. It travels with me, and sometimes gets left behind, living in memory, in the sweet shade of a fig tree half a world away.”

Editor’s note: This poem is from Home and Away – a sequel to the bestselling Writing the Land (2007). Look for one poet to be featured each day as Alberta poets ponder the question “what is home?” and explore our complex relationship with working on, living with, exploiting and protecting our land and our home. For more information about the project, click here.

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