The house I grew up in has slowly faded.
Dull image on the back side of a coin
I can no longer see—has gradually become
something other. Softened features. Flattened
monument whose meaning has been lost.
Long steps now just suggestions. If I tried
to climb them now I would go nowhere,
find nothing other than a shallow relief.
I am talking about me, of course (as everyone
routes the world through themselves, first).
The great song traveler passing through
taught of how the sky is anthem, how beauty
is. How everywhere we look, all. Lost body
of motion, of metaphor found. How a house
is a body. How the body is a house. How talk
of one is also talk of another. You, for instance.
The house I grew up in is the flesh of my youth.
Do you see now? I shouldn’t say more, yet I do.
My youth is the back side of a coin. Lost steps.
I can no longer remember what used to fill my head
on restless nights. My life will be a monument to
something forgotten. How we reached. How we
loved among ruins. That was all. The touch of this life
wears away. On the other side, a great song. Listen.
by Grant Hier
Grant Hier was the first Poet Laureate of Anaheim, California, from 2018 to 2020. Honors include Prize Americana, the Kick Prize, and the Courage Award. Books include Untended Garden, The Difference Between, and Similitude. A new book of poetry and instruction titled Practice: 394 Poems in 365 Days, is forthcoming. California Continuum Vol. One is a book of historical flash fiction he co-wrote with John Brantingham, the Poet Laureate of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Grant has been entered for three Grammy Awards: as a writer for “Best Album Notes” (for the last two Los Lobos albums, Llegó Navidad and Native Sons) and as a Producer for “Best Folk Album” (for Joyride: Friends Take the Wheel). He recently wrote the liner notes to a forthcoming, special edition 5-LP box set (WAR—The Vinyl: 1971-1975). As a voice actor he contributed to the audio book of George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the 2018 Audie Award for Audiobook of the year. Grant is a Full Professor at Laguna College of Art and Design, and poetry editor for Chiron Review. He lives in his childhood Anaheim home. More at www.granthier.com.