'Prepare to be immersed in the heat and vibrancy of Florida's natural world, full of such sensual detail that to read it is to breathe it in.' -Jo Shapcott [review of Greyhound Night Service]

Home, here, elsewhere

Home: is here, Tampa. Home is there, my town in the UK. Home is another place too, ten hours north of here, where most of my family lives. Home is a place and home is in me. A somewhere with the location In My Own Skin, regardless of the place I am.

Home is walking out into heat that wraps round me like the most comforting blanket in the whole world. And the past two days it has been unnerving to re-embody this warm acquaintance with the heat I spend most days craving.

Home is a particular colour of black-brown, the taste of the very beans that are this colour, over rice, for breakfast.

Home is watching my oldest friend steer her car with her left knee while she gestures with her hands. Home is not feeling afraid.

Home is a screen door that bangs shut behind me when I walk into a house. It is the carpet on my sister's stairs, as cat scratched as my own. It is the surprising width of my brother's back as he leans over to tie his son's shoe.

It is the triple swing step and big band music. It is a dance partner who looks in my eyes instead of looking past me.

It is no one swiveling their head around to stare when I open my mouth to speak.

It is the possibility of cockroaches.

It is my drooling cat, the river that runs alongside my house in England, cobbles in the street. It is my friends standing with me who don't flinch, even as others swivel their heads around to look when I open my mouth, begin to speak. My accent that never changes. My voice on which it rides.

Follow the sound down into my lungs, into the inhale and exhale, down past heartbeat and gut. Down strong legs all the way to my feet. On the ground. Cobbles and cracked English pavements. or

blood clay foundation. or

crabgrass and sand, Tampa Bay spread out before me.

All of these grounds.
Only my one pair of feet to walk them.

Never enough time. There can never ever be enough time to just let my feet stand in one place for awhile, be completely at home.


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