Home, in spite of the house.
Home, in spite of the neighborhood.
By the fourth grade, the many homes I’d had
Could be counted on two hands.
Make new friends, be social,
Strike up conversations to be normal.
I talked with words,
Hoping to find another
Who would talk similar words at me
So we would have some words in common
To talk about.
Report cards chastised my love of words—
“She talks a lot.”
“She talks too much.”
“She talks in class.”
Little girl, hush!
Home, in spite of the city.
Home, in spite of the state.
The state lines blurred and swirled in my head
Class clown or introvert?
But the truth is, when the talking came
To a merciful stop,
That was home.
School bus rides spent in solitude,
Left to my thoughts.
An inconspicuous corner in the park
Quietly learning things
That can’t be taught.
To accompany none.
To simply be
In the comforting company of one.
Talk is tiresome.
And I’ve talked for too many years.
Home, in spite of society.
Home, in spite of deity.
I covet, I desire, I lust to communicate.
It’s a sin to have waited this long.
To let these words languish,
Unused and unloved.
Herds of unwritten pages
Penned and left silent
Under the varnish of a social façade,
Confused and shoved aside.
The words that aim to hit a woman’s heart,
Not her eardrum.
The words that pull laughter from a man
Residing in the slum of his despair.
The words that inspire the inner child,
Not to give way to fear,
But to demand fear bows at their feet.
Smiling, no matter how many tears scroll down their cheeks.
Surviving collateral damage in the years they toil to be unique.
Braving the verbal batter all the peers who scold their defeat.
Home is right where I write.
Home is right where I think.
Home lies in the honesty of humor, humanity, honor and humility.
Home is in the words
That haunt and transcend language.
And they linger, patient
In the periphery
Needing no translation.
It is the holy dialect of our motherland.
That is the tongue I long to speak.
By: Erica Ruhe
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