When left alone in an African jungle what snippets of our home lives get captured in the treasure boxes of our memories? What artifacts call us to our past?
To see the animals roam free, such a contrast to those of the caged zoo visited as a child with my father.
What carries the comforts of home? Is it the toiletry bag packed with familiar soaps and underwear of the perfect size and color?
My little pocket knife reminds me of both my safety and danger in the darkness offered by this jungle on its platter of sounds where lions growl, hyenas howl and vultures wait until its over.
In my final hour, I realize that home is different to everyone and as much as you can pack into a suitcase, it will never be enough to erase the feeling of homesickness knotted in my solar plexus.
Visiting a New Continent
It is difficult to describe how one feels being transported
into this world where one feels like A Stranger
In A Strange Land, delivered into darkness by ten planes
in as many days. If I squeeze my eyes closed
and blink them open again, would it feel like
a moon landing or a shattered spaceship?
The only difference may be that gravity still digs
its claws into my psyche, particularly when forced
to run from the male lion eyeing me for dinner
in this deep African night.
-- Diana M. Raab is a poet and memoirist who teaches writing at the UCLA Writers’ Program and at conferences around the country. Her writings have appeared widely in anthologies, literary journals and magazines. She has three poetry collections. Dear Anais: My Life in Poems for You (2008) won the 2009 Next Generation Indie Award and Reader Views Annual Award for Poetry, as well as received other high honors. My Muse Undresses Me (2007) is her chapbook and her latest collection is The Guilt Gene (2009).
Her most recent book Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey (2010) is a self- help memoir which includes narrative and poetry.