Henry Ellebracht is a participant in the Liminality Seminar of the Honors College in the University of Missouri. In the summer before his senior year of high school he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The disease and treatment resulted in a long, painful journey to health that he treasures today. As he reflected on that liminal passage through the land of illness into health, he wrote the following poem. It is reprinted with permission:

Coming Home

There is no greater dread
than the length of a pathology report.
A signed confession of what your body
has done to itself.

There is no sweeter feeling
than sunlight rediscovering your skin.
The fluorescents it grew accustomed to
were only temporary.
But how could anyone have known that?

A brief swan song rings
as the elevator marks
the end of homesickness.
No more borrowed bed,
borrowed slippers,
borrowed gown,
borrowed time.
May you never return.

You look in your mother’s bedroom mirror
and your surroundings are familiar
like the laminated bracelet
clamped to your wrist.
Still the person is new.
Despite the bruises and aghast face,
and the vacant expression,
you realize there is nothing more soothing
than coming home.

It will last this time.
It will last this time.