The Home Within my Head

By Isabel Turner

Everyday feels as though we are
Playing hide and seek with death
Unsure of who he might wish to take
Whose breath

So I make a home inside my head
Plant flowers in the beds of my brain
In the hopes that their bloom is beautiful enough
To fight back against the angst of solitude

My head is now my home

That’s what I tell myself when death comes knocking
At the door of another soul

I wonder how others tend to the homes within their heads
How they choose to nourish their own flowers
When they feel there is no space for them to grow

I’m grateful for the house within my head
And my head inside my home

But when life feels like a head within a home, it’s hard to imagine
A world with all those heads and all those homes
And when death is out to play, we are not allowed to leave
Our homes within our heads
And those who must, I fear, face the greedy grasp of death

So I stay within the home inside my head
I lock the door and back away
From the homes in the heads of others
Praying they don’t unlock the door to smell the flowers
Within the home of another head
As tempting as a sniff would be
As warm as another head’s home could prove to be

Death stalks between each home and head
To smother the flowers that try in earnest to bloom
In the isolation of our own
Heads, our newfound homes

I wrote this poem during a course I took on catastrophe and memory across history. I was inspired by the poets of antiquity who sacrificed their time and vulnerability to write prose that would help comfort future generations suffering through their own cataclysmic events, such as the one we find ourselves in today. 

Today, more so than ever before, humans are grasping for a connection as intimate as physicality without having to be in the same room. This poem speaks to that struggle. I hope it helps others out there, suffering from isolation, to feel a bond across the deep chasms COVID-19 has cultivated in our new world.

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