DeWitt Henry

On Place

Backed up at the supermarket checkout, you have forgotten an item; “Hold my place?” you ask 
the person behind you, so you can go find it.  Checked out, then, you roll your cart to your car in 
its parking place.  You head from there to your living place.  This may be your home town, or 
you may be out of place.  You may be a tourist, visitor, alien, or drifter, passing through; perhaps 
you’re couch surfing at a friend’s.  As for me, I stop at my favorite watering place, though I don’t 
look to socialize (no “Your place or mine?”).  To regulars, I am commonplace.  I may or may not 
be in a good place. Home is where, when you go there, they have to take you in.  When we say 
place, we often mean space.  A space for this life.  Elbow room.  A room of one’s own.  Some-
times a transit space. Between habitats, natural or alien. Littoral zone.  Comfort zone. Water or 
land?  Gills or lungs?  Fish or fowl?  Amphibian? What is a leopard doing at this altitude?  Hers, 
His, & Ours. Win, place, or show. Dream place.  Peaceable kingdom.  Spaces we share.  Meeting 
place.  Marketplace.  New heavens, new earth.  Over the rainbow, where witches fly.  Jumping 
off place.  Shelter in place.  Placeless places.  Places between places.  Drifter, vagrant.  Trespass-
er.  Private or shared?  Rooted, or up-?  I have traveled a great deal in Concord.  Immigrant.  
Asylum seeker.  Refugee.  Give me your tired, your poor.  Adopted place.   Oriented, disoriented; 
estranged, familiar.  True North.  Lost in translation.  You are here, or there.  Fitting in.  Sticking 
out.  Globe trekker.  Snowbird.  Migrant.  Frying pan to fire.  New horizons.  Space and time.  
Here and now.  This raft, unanchored.  These sails, some wind.  Boarding pass.  This shrunken 
earth.  Put your finger on it.