It’s the end of summer, 2005
A little girl stands amidst a sea
of strangers, flowing around her,
unobstructed. A thousand voices
mutter around her tiny, ten year-old
form but her voice, no matter how small,
does not waver and does not quake.
“Home,” the girl says and
the word feels foreign,
leave a bitter taste in her mouth.
For the past four months “home” has been
a trailer in Huntsville, Texas. “Home” was
a big house with small people, a broken family
and a new school. The girl hides
the tears in her eyes. The meaning of a home,
the place of solace for all and a cocoon of comfort
is tainted and marred by parental conflict and
The girl mourns the loss of her supposed haven.
This “home” is just the same, only this is an old,
familiar city. Her mother and father are at each other’s throats,
the older sisters and brother that raised the girl
are sick of staying in a shallow home
and they leave, out on the streets and with friends more than the household.
So the little girl grows up;
eleven, thirteen, fifteen—always too young, thinking too old;
too mature for her age and too naïve.
Fifth grade to sixth grade she is still that little girl in LAX,
outspoken and so alone
until a teacher hands her a book and
says “read; read and escape”. The girl picks up the book,
curious, and Shakespeare speaks to her in old English,
recounts the tale of two star-crossed lovers. In minutes
the girl is in a whole new world, watching these characters
come to life. The teacher introduces a grand concept
to this lonely, broken child: books are a reflection of life,
of humanity; even worlds apart they reflect common themes
and hard-learned life lessons. In a week the teacher
will tell the girl to write her own composition. The day will be remembered
for the rest of her life as the day she meets
her first love.
Seventh grade, eighth: the books begin to pile up
besides worn notebooks with frayed spines
and tattered pages. The pre-teen comes up with stories
that relax a part of her that she didn’t know needed to be calmed.
Her vocabulary strengthens; the stories gain length
but never lose their meaning. Ninth grade then tenth,
the teen finds others just like her: a little broken, a little hopeful
and so beautifully flawed. Despite a health problem with the girl’s heart
that’s diagnosed and misdiagnosed, she’s happy. The teen has support and
strength from her peers, and that’s what helps her fight the pain.
Something else inside of the teen clicks back into place.
The pile of books and drafts and poems grows.
Eleventh grade and, finally, senior year: the teen,
this young woman has found her place in the school,
has secured out a niche of her own. The school paper beckons
and welcomes the woman with open arms; faults, eccentricities
and all. The paper becomes a second nature, correcting other
budding writers’ work and evolving in her style, the young woman
brightens every day. It takes seven years for her to notice the change;
the biggest aspect of her life that’s been missing
and has finally been filled.
It started off with a paperback and a notebook,
a blank paper easel that shouts out unlimited,
infinite ideas; paper dreams and aspirations.
How, with a mighty pen, the young woman can
taint the gracious and save the villainous. It started
with demented, lucid creations borne of cogent psychosis,
a painting of something beautiful,
something desolate; an image of our darkest desires
as words drag us asunder,
as the sin-slick syllables curl around our forms.
It started with something new,
something bright like gleeful sunlight in the day;
warm, fragile wings the color of the wind
and sharp sounds like laughter tittering
with the groaning trees. It started with
getting lost in those other, impossible worlds;
with her eyes glued to dancing letters
and characters that came out of the pages.
It started with a little girl, contemplating what “home” was
and mourning her loss and ends
with that same girl behind a computer,
heart bleeding Times New Roman across the screen.
It leads here, though, not "ends"
With that very same girl
turned woman with age and hardship
writing to escape, to feel;
To create and to help others,
maybe a little lost, a little broken,
find that feeling of finally being whole,
of finally being home
Somewhere between the words I write
and the message they read