If you have too many hometowns
or none at all. If you willingly carry
the dark Alaska months within you
but shrug off its infinite summers,
if you take the word y’all from Georgia
but not its balmy winters. If you miss
the snow in Colorado, in New York.
If you mistake the Metro for Marta,
if you walk toward a café in Portland
while hungry in downtown DC.
If you call more than one team yours
at a single baseball game, if you can
recite each Seattle zip code you’ve used
but none of the highways in Columbus.
If you think forever home means cemetery,
if you think be/longing is two words.
If the neighbors ask where you’re from
and you pause to wonder, that’s an answer.
They’ll want to show you how they were
born and bred here, which is a bread
you can’t taste anywhere. You can chew
and chew its crust and still not get it,
that flavor of knowing where you are
before you know how to leave it.