Issue #3 // Em // Melissa Newman-Evans

There is something that is true about everyone in this room.
No matter who you are or where you come from,
You were once a child. Three feet tall and full of hope,
with dreams that could come true in an afternoon,
full of love so expansive it stretched to the edges
of the known universe, blanketing your back yard
all the way to the fence,

and sure, maybe there wasn’t a fence. Maybe
there wasn’t a back yard. Maybe there was
just the stairs and a place to sleep, but
it was still yours, and the world was full, and
your heart was new, and sometimes all you want
is to do is go back there, back home­­—

But the home you grew up in doesn’t exist anymore.
The windows look in on a different living room,
a different life, the bed is in the wrong corner and
all the silverware is in the wrong drawers.

You were so excited to grow up back then.
So ready to be the person you are now.
What happened? Did the world snap shut
on your fingertips one too many times?
Did take and deserve get so mixed up
in your heart that you forgot how to cut through
the tall grass? Does sunset mean anything
beyond the restless turning of another empty day?
Do you live in a house now instead of a home?

The real secret is,
the home you grew up in never existed
anywhere but inside of your heart,
which was a child’s heart,
beating in a body that knew
all the shortcuts through
the neighborhood that would
get you home by dark even
if the sun was already setting,
knew all the good climbing trees,
where the good mud was, and the wild
strawberries, and the snapdragons
in the empty lot, and the nest
of rabbits, and the hawk bones,
That map on the inside of your eyelids
is the home you miss. The castle
you lived in before anyone told you
that it wasn’t real­­—

                     But it was. It was real because you built it,
and just because you grew up and believed some liar
and his show­-me cynicism doesn’t mean it isn’t still
there, waiting for you.

No one wants to go back home. Not really.
We want to build again, the way we used to.
We want to trace a path so bright and brilliant
that our feet will remember it in twenty more years.
We want hot cement in the sun and the smell of thunder
in the mud and weeds growing out of all the cracks,
a world bursting with wonder, and a
love for that world so strong and unafraid,
you could build a house on it.

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