National Poetry Month Day 14: a poem by Megan McShea ’09

Peering through streaked windows
At volcanoes broken down with time,
Swarming with the tourists snapping photos-
I sit in my flat and stare at the stucco wall
And I want my cat, my valley, my red-bud trees.
I want to hear a southern accent, feel warm Virginia sun and taste real peanut-butter.
I want my father standing in the kitchen, toasting oats for Sunday breakfast,
Cool applesauce waiting on the counter.
I want to go home.

Instead, I wander alone through Edinburgh streets,
Pressed hard against the Scottish wind
Clinging to cold stone walls as it tears through me.

Soon, I am standing in Tesco’s and I cannot find the applesauce.
I ask, and they look at me like I’m stupid.
Like they did when I couldn’t find the eggs,
(They’re with the bread of course.)
They point to the shelf right behind me, and there’s the applesauce.
But not applesauce – more like apple marmalade;
And I wonder, if apple marmalade, which is applesauce but not
Will go with the oats-but-not-oats that I have in my basket
If they will mix well with the raisons from the baking section
And if, in the end, I will have my toasted oats and applesauce
To take me home.



Megan McShea graduated from Bucknell in 2009, where she studied Theatre and Linguistics and served as Director of The Vagina Monologues. She currently works for the Wayside Theater in Virginia.


2 thoughts on “National Poetry Month Day 14: a poem by Megan McShea ’09

  1. I loved this poem from the first time I read it, all those years ago in your flat in Scotland. It captures the feeling of homesickness so well, and the ways in which little differences make you ache for the familiar. Glad to see it again here on The Afterword!

  2. Although Megan’s description of home seems very distant from mine, I still feel like I’m in her house waiting at the breakfast table for dad to toast the oats. I’m wondering if “raisons” is spelled this way as a double-entendre…

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