“Homecoming” in At Length

One of the stories in Mattaponi Queen appears in At Length today. I wrote “Homecoming” right after moving from Brooklyn, where I’d lived for three years, to North Carolina, which is now my home. I remember feeling a little like Marcus–I thought a lot about all the great, unusual experiences I’d had, not my screeching daily subway ride or getting yelled at by homeless guys or being cold all the time in the winter. Of course, Brooklyn is Marcus’s home, and I always knew I was there temporarily.

I was also thinking about my former students, first graders who had convinced me, in a weak and crazy moment, to give them my cell phone number. A couple of them called me all the time: “Ms. Boggs!” That’s mostly what they said when they called: “Ms. Boggs!” They were waiting for me to supply the rest of the conversation, I guess. A lot of them lived in the Brevoort Houses, where Marcus lived, and they were good and smart like him but limited in opportunity and burdened, some of them, with absent parents. What are they up to? They’re in sixth grade now. I hope that, unlike Marcus, they’re staying out of trouble.

I also hope you’ll follow At Length, an online magazine that publishes work by amazing longer-form writers, such as Michael Jayme-Becerra, Alan Shapiro, and Erica Eisdorfer, as well as interviews with visual artists and musicians. From their website: “At Length is a venue for writing, music, and art that are open to possibilities shorter forms preclude. While each section represents the vision and judgment of a different editor, we share an interest in making room for ambitious, in-depth work.”

I’m honored to be published there. Here’s the link to the story:




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4 responses to ““Homecoming” in At Length

  1. magnoliaavenue

    Hey…did you work at P.S. 40? I teach English at an arts high school upstairs; Brevoort is outside my third floor classroom window all day, and some version of it features frequently in my fiction. I stumbled onto your blog today (I was looking up Bakeless prize winners), and I’m enjoying reading ‘Homecoming’…

    • Belle Boggs

      Hi, magnoliaavenue. Yes, I taught at P.S. 40 from 2003-2005. I was on the second floor, also facing Brevoort, teaching writing to K-4, then downstairs teaching first grade. I also have a story somewhat inspired by my principal there, though most of the details are really different. I’d love to read your work and hear about your school, by the way.

  2. magnoliaavenue

    Wow! Small world. I probably have a few of your former students. I’d love to read the story inspired by your principal (she’s quite a presence!). Btw, I finished ‘Homecoming’ and liked it tremendously; planning to buy the book soon. If you’re interested in seeing my fiction, drop me an email (clairecox@gmail.com), and I’d be happy to send you some!

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