Returning Home

I pressed my face against her neck
to avoid the blinding sunlight
and felt the sweat that soaked her shirt.

Near an abandoned field
with grass tall as my head,
withering in the dry season,
we stopped under a large tree,
and she lowered me onto the ground.
I felt the heat of the soil through my sandals.

"Mother," I almost whispered,
"are we there?"

She gazed down the winding road,
where the wind swept dust
and dried leaves,
her eyes deep and thoughtful.

Then, the silence between us was interminable
like the silence when I sometimes stand before her
while she is asleep.

Tien Tran