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  • Dogs have it easy.
    New house,
    new room.
    Sniff the corners and edges.
    Snuffle under the sofa pick up a snout full of dust.
    Hunker back to sneeze it all out.
    Turn around three times one way, then three times back.
    Drop, flop into place.
    They have a nose for familiarity.

    A hemisphere away from all that was home, my familiarity is harder won.

    There, habit and routine made the city small
    Within my day I knew where to go and when to look
    Hand reached and found
    Knew the way
    Knew the drill
    Pumpkin pie

    From experience’s vantage point
    I watched new families arrive,
    Late and lately lost,
    Big eyed,
    Hovering along exhaustion’s exasperated edge,
    Desperate for one clear accomplishment,
    Not another, try again tomorrow.
    I nodded and commiserated

    Now, look at me, two weeks tossed and turned
    Only the landscape looks familiar at first and passing glance;
    Traded flat topped acacia and thorn for pine,
    Swapped winter dry for summer drought.
    Language parched after Hola.
    in stores, where I make out one word in ten or twenty, I play Charades and Pictionary.

    Rendered simple,
    Smiling and nodding to requests and questions.
    Going through what was routine
    like an unfledged hatchling.
    Nothing is where it was.
    Now, simply not getting lost becomes a victory

    the morning breeze is cool through the house
    an orange tree stands by the door
    Ferns hang from the stairs
    Rescued chairs
    Make a place to sit under the stars
    Routes grows landmarks
    Internal signs noted, marked
    Even if to say
    Don’t turn here

    Faint lines in time connect
    Become the grooves
    Give us flow and glide

    Perhaps the dog apprehends all of these
    In that first inspection.
    For me,
    in small steps and simple ways,
    a place becomes a home.
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