Places Left Behind

Jessica Chickering

A long, lighthouse light
dances, guiding men
to a hopeful home.

Hardened bacon grease
sizzling on cast iron.
Iced tea and patience.

Porch boards bend and creak,
Gram’s chair rocks slowly
in silent prayer.

Her face is my face.

Don’t you settle here – she said.
She was once a girl
making lemonade
then the baby came.

So she married
the closest man
that agreed to have her.

The passing years
turned into vultures
ravaging her life.

Her hands grip the chair;
something she cannot
remember is gone.

The ocean’s sweet pull roars
mile markers pass
the light fades.

My face is her face.

Hush – when I am old,
sideways, and troubled
I will return home
drawn in by the light.

Jessica ChickeringJessica Chickering works in marketing for a sustainable design firm in Denver, Colorado. She graduated from the University of Colorado-Denver with a BA in English.  She has been previously published in print and online publications, including Presenting Denver, ALT Poetics, and Copper Nickel Literary Journal.