Chant home, one hummable syllable.
Make chords with the relatives,
breathing in, breathing out. Everything
is here – anger, fear, love, ennui.
A cat prowls beneath the bedroom
window, crooning like a Tuvan,
under- and overtones bridging
the gap between species.
Concoct a soup from chicken bones,
parsnips, garlic and cayenne.
Pharmacopeia for the soul,
om remedy for the deep ache,
the loneliness of sentience,
of being in a body and at sea.
Home is the sailor, humming
a chanty, the words risqué.
It’s all a risk anyway.
Opening the lips to kiss
or sing lets microbes in.
Resistance is futile.
If the cat has your tongue,
let her keep it. Hum along.
Copyright 2016, Sylvia Byrne Pollack
Sylvia Byrne Pollack’s work has appeared in Floating Bridge Review, Crab Creek Review, Clover, and Antiphon, among other print and online journals. A Pushcart nominee, she received the 2013 Mason’s Road Winter Literary Award for her poem, “Gregory,” and was a finalist for the 2014 inaugural Russell Prize.