The “H” Word

The “H” Word
Patty Kinney 

When I tell people we are homeless
they don’t know what pocket to put it in.
A game of hot potato –
both parties scrambling to suspend the spud.

I’ve learned to tango away
turn my cheek toward la la la.
The “H” word does not take up space in
Webster’s New World Dictionary featuring
2,000 new entries and a lovely lime green cover.

It did mention that home, noun,
is the place where one lives?
There are entries for homeboy, homepage, and homeland (as in security).

After I throw the kiwi-colored dictionary in
the trash next to Seattle’s Best coffee grounds,
I go to my Merlin, Dictionary.Com.
Adjective. Without a home.
Noun. A person who lacks permanent housing.

A quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson
is an exclamation mark on the screen.
I cannot forgive a scholar his homeless despondency.
Despondent: The depression of spirits
from loss of hope, confidence, or courage;

The H Word – Patty Kinney

In May of 2012, while training to be a volunteer advocate for the homeless in her hometown of Olympia, Washington, poet Patty Kinney became homeless. She and the youngest of her six sons, spent 55 days navigating shelters , couches and cots. Kinney holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. The poet is working on a chapbook and enjoys being referred to as an “immersion poet” while navigating bastard power bills, mental illness, food banks and the writing life. 

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