Upon Feeling Homesick

by Janice Flynn

In my home town stuck
in a traffic jam on Pulaski Road
I suddenly feel homesick.
For a year I stayed away
and didn’t think of this road once.

Though when I’m stressed
my dreams always bring me back
to Chicago’s streets.

Now I’m actually here waiting
for the traffic to move watching
the ComEd workmen lay cords
below the street at 57th.

Unfashionable people wait for buses
and cross the street. Polish delis
nestled next to Mexican taquerias.

A squad car zooms past, an ambulance
and fire engine follow. Gang warfare marks
the garages with graffiti:
the Latin Kings’ high art.

A train passes with cars
filled with things going elsewhere
its steady clank, clank and horn warning
at the intersection. Midway’s planes
rock to their descent at 75th
barely five hundred feet above us.

To miss something
is to love it still. So many come
from so far away and I have the nerve
to forsake it. This city will not free me easily.
I relent so it may let me go.