Homesickness & The Machines
by Carolyn Srygley-Moore

There was a dream: a beautiful ancient hospital
one could reach across seven bridges // where the spoked lanterns
could not be distinguished from desire: & in the rooms
the wounded sat before great machines
with great black dogs at their feet:
machines that healed their souls. There was a dream.

The homeless vet stood on the bridge
carrying a sign like a ransom note: it all begins
with hunger, it says. & from his hand,
or a vein in his hand, springs

a lighthouse, spiraling yellow shafts
by which the lost or abandoned might find their path
home…Stars like tadpoles swimming,
skinned commas of light. There were people

in the passage, shoveling
footprints from the sand, spades like the very dragons of the sea;
who could find his way back?
Vision was one of the elements, brutal as all beginnings.
Your hands were too grimy for lust or love.

The very air, shiny like the gesture the wounded one makes
when informed his soul is wounded no more; is
restored, like the hand in the photograph,

that is not real, but computer graphics…

but real enough to those sick for home.
In a place where the bridge arcs
from island to hospital,
& the trains & the planes & the plans run no more.

* * *

“Homesickness & the Machines” (c) 2009 by Carolyn Srygley-Moore
all rights reserved, used with the poet’s permission

Carolyn Srygley-Moore is a long-ago, award-winning graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. She has been a Pushcart nominee, widely published in journals including Eclectica, Mimesis, Antioch, Stirring, & the antiwar anthology Cost of Freedom. Her digital chapbook Enough Light on the Dogwood is available at She lives in Upstate New York with her husband & daughter.