Ribbon Bound

a poem by
BRYN HOMUTH | Professor + Poet

For a brief time before he passed, my wife’s grandfather lived in a nursing home. I saw this woman among the residents in the lobby one visit, and continued to think of her in the days that followed. I wrote this poem as a way to remember her in a season where her own memories seemed to be fading.

Photo by Timothy Eberly

IN care center lobby
a woman in wheelchair
hunches from her parked position
at a television she may not hear.
One foot has edged off its pedal,
shoe nosing carpet

in her arms—a baby
doll. She sways in her seat
the way she coaxed
her own daughter to sleep:
stroke back, cradle legs, close
eyes. Behind them
in the private film room
of her thoughts,
reels line shelves
like spools of ribbon,
some missing, some piled to ceiling.
She selects one, loads projector

whirring click like shuffled cards
switch—on. This dark room
down a dark hall
in a dark building
emits a lens light as she watches

refracted through doll’s countenance.
She wakes, finger-combs
ribbon-tied hair, and searches
its plastic optimism
for the infinitesimal
illuminate thread
she can follow back
because a room that dark
must be difficult to find.




Professor + Poet

I am a husband, father, professor, poet, tennis enthusiast, low brass musician, and home cook, among other things. I’m fascinated in general by any pursuit that involves creating, whether that be written words, sounds, tastes, or anything in between. Every lived moment, to me, carries within it the possibility of a poem, which is why I often dash off notes on my phone or, with time, sit down to journal. When I return to those ideas later and read through them, one will usually make its presence known to me as if to say “I’m ready to be written.” That’s where I begin. 

Follow Bryn on Instagram at blhomuth.