Chamomile

They dried its flowers 
and stems. 

He tells me its name
in his native tongue.

I do not understand, at first
until I smell its fragrance
floral and sweet;
subtle.

Chamomile.

He directs me upstairs
in broken English;
I pray I understand enough.

"Grab a bunch,
wrapped
in newspaper."

There in the attic
of the duplex that
two brothers 
made homes,

I find the dried stems
and flower -

Grown in the garden
that's fed family
for 60 years.


I bring down a bundle
and she, before she lost
herself,
stands at
the stove,
boils a pot of water
and grabs a handful
as the water simmers.

She makes tea

she makes tea for 
her and I
but doesnt drink a sip

she watches me
drink

she smiles.

Now
years later
chamomile 
will remind me of them;
their home and their 
garden.

How fitting.

This flower 
holds many 
salves

Its simple yet
honored

Its humble
and enduring.

Chamomile 
becomes
the symbol
of my roots.  



Language Barrier

In Portuguese
you describe
the point in your life
when you decided
to free yourself
from ties and commitment,
accountability.

In English
you said,

“Yes, I’m open.”

In your language,
in your truth,
you come to terms
with your spirit,
split in two
half existing elsewhere
the other seeking joy, here.

A vagabond has no home.
Potentially aimless,
leaving ruin in some places.
Excitement in others.

A vagabond cannot hold
what I’m asking to be held.

In your language, you proclaim,

“Eu ainda estou levando esta vida.”

Vagabundeando.

I reach for you in my own language.
Your answer is a mixture of
words I do not understand.

"Come here,"

I want to say.

Make a home in my chest,
have adventures with me.

You choose something else,
a different life.
A different person.
You choose everything but me.

I am no place for a vagabond.
I may be searching
but this heart has roots.