Longing, for someone, for something, for somewhere.
Home; where the heart is, where you belong, where you need not worry. You are safe in that place, with those people, with yourself.
Sick; you feel sad, perhaps lonely. A churning in your stomach, a dizziness in your head. Something is missing and something’s wrong.
Homesick; you feel nostalgic for times when everything was right and good. Your heart aches for something gone; perhaps it doesn’t exist anymore, perhaps it does. You are wishful for that time when everything was simple, for those people with their gentle eyes, for that place with the warm fire and blankets.
There’s an emptiness in your gut the shape of your home and all you want is to fill it.
Welcome to the first Spotlight of the 2023-24 year! Here you will read wonderful pieces of writing in different styles relating to the topic of homesickness; we sincerely hope you enjoy!
These Places by Nova Waldolf (10)
Photo by Nova Waldolf
I didn’t know you could get attached to places you’ve only been to once.
Whitecaps on the rocky shores
Golden sunsets reflecting off white stones
Twisted trees and frozen lakes
Emptiness has never been so beautiful
It is unpredictable
You find things you didn’t know you had lost until they come back to you:
Love for Friends
Love for People
Love for Places
Love for Life
A strange melody echos through my mind
It starts out with a pulse
My heart beats steadily along to the music that resides here
It is in the hills
In the forests and tundras
In the laughs I shared with those who mean the most to me
In the late night walks to see the auroras
In the dawn when morning slips in through the window curtains
It is everywhere in these places
Even when I am no longer here,
My heart will be.
Is This My Love? by Mica Read (10)
Is this my love?
Who holds me without the value of trust,
binds my hands to theirs?
Am I but an expendable factor to your ever-wandering eyes?
A pawn in your selfish game?
The youth which we once held, left far behind.
Awaiting three days
A hurt which you healed then reopened.
The song in my throat,
stolen and torn.
A youth never to be regained,
still, I fought with all my might
to look you in the eyes once more.
Do you bleed out every time you recall the promised trust
you broke in the palm of your hands,
Which turned into shards?
Or are you as icy as your eyes appear?
Their cold and cruel glare forcing forgiveness from fear.
If this is love, then I repent the fondness,
hidden far behind glass,
I’ll try to move forward, forget the past
Oh, how I wish you’d loved me enough for it to last.
Photo by Enzelika Scharf
Photo by Mic Rad
Inimune by Enzelika Scharf (10)
When spring turned to fall
I watched vigorous life
Plummet to death
In your absence
In my state of ailment
Our home faded to tranquility
And in your goodbye
You seized my health
Yet, stranded to this cot
The warmth of your memory triumphed
Over an absence of home
One familiar to others
And in the name of familiarity:
These aches, this torment
I've come to endure
My Real Home by Avalon Fischer (10)
My best friend;
Two minute walk down the street.
You’ll always be there,
until you’re not.
Until you move,
until you leave.
I can’t help it
I miss you.
You’re the heat of sun on a rainy day,
fresh blooming flowers
in long cold months of winter.
You’re the sound of laughter in times of sorrow,
tear stained cheeks and puffy eyes.
You’re the missing air in my lungs
when I can’t breath;
a release of hot breath.
I miss you so much
if I could,
I would go back,
standing at the bus stop for thirty minutes
the skin of our legs freezing off the bones.
I would walk an hour in the
for your ice cream that is, somehow,
always worth it.I would risk being late
when you need me to braid your hair,
I would stand drenched in a storm
when you need to tie your shoe.
I miss you. I miss you when I’m tired,
when it feels like I have nothing left
and need you here.
You’re not here, you’re there;
On with your new life,
with your new friends,
with your new me.
My fear of you leading on,
I don’t know
how to make it
You are my home
and without my home,
where will I be?
Photo by Avalon Fischer
Goodbye When by Adelia Wood (10)
“Home is where the heart is”, but my heart isn’t where, it’s when. A long time ago, when. When everything was a foot taller and when the stars shone so much brighter. When birds sang outside my window and every morning I was awake to hear them. When I was curious about everything and when I wasn’t too anxious to ask. Home is when my eyes were bright and untinged by purple depression. Home is when my forearms were smooth.
When there was a gap between my teeth so big I could fit chocolate chips through it, when there were no scars tracing the inside of my mouth. When I could see the bottom half of all my friends faces. When my bed had a ladder, when my shoes did-up with Velcro, when the word “pandemic” was only scary ‘cause it was big.
When a day without my best friend was unfathomable, let alone a week, a month, eight months; when my mind was innocent and kind to me.
When both my car and dog were black, when I was the camper, when the tree branch could hold me, when a mirror wasn’t my enemy, when I had to look up to see my mom.
This “when” I’m in now is nothing like my home. It is empty, and nihilistic, and fire against the inside of my skin. I hate it here—when—now? I want to go home. I would give anything to go home. But when home is when, not where, you can’t go back. Time is unrelenting, unforgiving. Once it is gone, it is gone. So goodbye, then—when.
Photo by Carly Wood
Haunting My New Home by Megan Davies (10)
Photo by Kristen Davies
My friends and I decided to walk to the Halloween party James was throwing.
In hindsight, that was definitely a mistake.
The goose bumps felt rough as my fingers brushed against my forearms in a pointless attempt to warm myself up.
The sound of my friend's endless chatter was drowned out as my legs carried me closer to his house.
The patter of boot clad feet replaced the boring topic my friends thought was ever so interesting.
Looking to the left, I spotted a group of young girls in Powerpuff Girl costumes.
“Bubbles” pointed at a house, in the front yard was a boat with a skeleton for a captain.
They let out a few excited screeches, taking off running towards the door.
Normally I would have laughed it off, leaving it at “Did you see those little girls? They were so cute!”
But this time, I couldn't help but notice a hollow feeling build in my chest once they were out of sight.
I hadn't realized how much I missed being little.
How much I missed sitting with my parents, watching some Disney Halloween episode of one of the shows I was watching that year.
Then ordering food at an hour that felt so late for me.
I hadn't realized how much I missed my parents. I hadn't realized how much I missed my brother.
How I had traded out his annoying, out of tune strumming for professional recordings.
His annoyingly loud chewing and how he would always follow me, around and in decisions.
I missed my home.
The room I grew up in,
The creaks in the stairs,
The chips in the paint,
The missing cabinet doors (that I may have broken off as a kid),
The organized chaos of our fridge after family gatherings,
I missed my home.
My family and the house.
Chills by Abigail Amos (10)
This place, that once was mine, is lost
Can you feel the temperature change? The winds shift?
Burning embers now cooled with the changing seasons.
The chills burn.
Cozy fireplaces replaced with icy breath
Love you gave now gone with the wind blowing through the shattered window
Glass on the ground trying to stop me from entering what will eat me whole
You there, broken bottle in hand, crying under the dim flickering light
Me, staring into space, memories of the past swell with the sinking moments
Where did it go? When did it become so cold? Why here?
The memories, the tears, the glass
I wish we could go back to the heat of days spent under the sun
To have the feeling of your warm embrace one more time
To be with you
Photo by Abigail Amos
Untitled by Ella Green (10)
Untitled by Ella Green (10)
Feel the warm air fill your lungs.
The first step, the first breath, the first sight, nothing like I’d ever felt before.
Endless blue sea,
Waves crashing on the shore,
Clinging to the memories I refuse to let leave my mind.
I feel the sun burning my rosy cheeks.
The sweet taste of happiness moving throughout my body.
My heart is full.
I left a piece of me on that beach, the better part of me.
At least maybe now I’ll be able to feel.
Feel how much I miss it, and how much I want to go back.
Feel the emptiness of the mundanemondaine.
Feel the front slowly freeze my lungs.
Feel myself fall back into the same person I once was.
I hate that person. I hate that feeling.
Photo by Ella Green
Photo by Ella Green
It’s always there.
Whether I'm wrapped in its warm comforting grasp or being pulled apart by its sharp careless hands. I refuse to let myself get entrapped in this deadly cycle.
When I'm in, I am broken.
Yet I feel a sense of comfort and hospitality.
Safety, might I say.
When I finally use every last bit of my strength and muscle to pry myself out of the dark hole, I continuously dig for myself.
I find myself mourning the loss of something I felt comfortable with.
I know it’s no permanent or stable solution yet no matter which home I am dwelling in, there is pain. I don't know which way to look, which side I should listen to, or which action to take.
I just want to feel okay, though I know that that’s no longer an option.
I've Tried by Kathryn Burns (10)
I've tried to travel before
I packed a bag and left for a week
I didn't even make it twenty-four hours
Before the panic seeped into me
Ate at my bones
Slowly absorbed me
From the inside out
I cried my way through the seven days
I never got on an airplane again
I've tried a sleepover before
I stuffed my pajamas into a little backpack
And carried a stuffed animal under my arm
I said I could do it
By eight I was feeling off
By nine I was weeping silently
By ten I was sneaking through a dark house
Into an even darker night
I never slept over again
I've tried camping before
I pitched a tent with my dad and sister
We planned on staying two nights
But I couldn't stop crying
Because my mom stayed home
Because the air was so cold
Because my stomach hurt
Because I missed my bed
I never went camping again
I am tethered to my house
The longer I'm gone
The harder I'm pulled back
I tell people I just get homesick easily
But I think it's a lot more than that
Photo by Kathryn Burns
I Lost Every Time by Astrid Nannini (12)
Photo by Mic Rad
There is a sadness that hits me like a tidal wave
A sadness that drowns me like no other
When Fran Mena sings about his daughter
I put my playlist on shuffle
And every time his tracks come on, I stop in mine
“That’s my daughter in the water”
And here I am
In the water
And here I am
And here I am
But I am not yours
“Everything she knows, I taught her”
I suppose this is true, in a sense
You taught me how to love the world
Even when its love is not reciprocal
Now I see its warmth even when it is cold outside
“Everything she takes, she takes apart”
I guess this is true, too
Like a sweet song about a man and his child
That I pull apart
Until it is no longer happy but about you
What gets me more than anything else
Is the most honest lyric
“That’s my daughter in the water,
I lost every time I fought her.”
Funny that I should be drowning
Homesick for the comfort of oxygen filling my lungs
And still, you lose every time we fight
You lose against me
Because you are losing me
And you cannot win yourself over
How to Poetically Speak of Home by Mona Mohamed (9)
I rip a flamingo off my wall.
The toucan and the jaguar go too.
Flowers, and leaves, and a small pineapple follow suit.
I keep the stars.
“I love you to the moon and back” reminds me of my mother,
so that’ll stay as well.
I keep butterflies.
A smiley face drawn with nail polish continues to smile for now.
I’ve grown up, you can tell.
I replace these stickers with posters and pretend I do not hesitate as I rip the last one off.
This room is still mine, this home is still here.
I simply changed it along with myself.
Home is what you make it, after all.
Art by Mona Mohamed
Monsters by Niko Stevens (10)
Art by Adelia Wood
for the place
where the monster that lives in the swallow cove
of my chest
can’t come out
where it cannot make the cuts
on my skin
with its claws
and the blood in my mouth
with its teeth
for the place where
my knuckles are not bruised
tongue not frayed
by it’s laughter
at all the stupid things
sick for the place where
the tears behind my eyes are not held back
by a vicious creature
with no name
perhaps I should give it one
so that it may listen
when I tell it
not to pull at my guts
until they become un-tethered
not to leave a withering mess in my belly
or an hollow cavity
where my heart
for a place that doesn’t exist
for a body
not plagued by demons
for a person that never was
never will be
take me home
Untitled (a cento) by Bailey Curtin (12)
I am as shy as a wild creature
tired of summer
half savage and hardy, and free;
long hours pass by
Midnight has gone
I sleep alone.
Have I endured loneliness with grace?
I want to live my life all over again
to begin again, to be utterly wild.
I am a creature of grief and dust and bitter longings.
There is an empty place where my heart once was
I am a shard of glass on the ground
A passionate, fragmentary girl
The high moment, the burning flash, continuous quicksand
laughing at injuries, not maddening under them
I have come to terms with the fact that
I was born homesick in my own body
Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it
It is awful to want to go away and to want to go nowhere.
It is the heaviest thing I have ever known,
us girls who write our pain
On our bodies
What the hell is tragedy?
There will always be a ribbon of loneliness running through who I am
But the truth is I am terribly weak
and I crave the balm of soft and beautiful things.
I do not know who I am tonight
so I am out with lanterns, looking for myself
Why does my blood rush into a hell of tumult at a few words?
I can’t go on
(I’ll go on)
“Untitled” is composed of words and phrases found in the works of Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Emily Brontë, Mary Oliver, Anaïs Nin, Kathleen Glasgow, Sara Teasdale, George R. R. Martin, Clarice Lispector, Jenny Slate, Jody Chan, Sappho, Janos Pilizinsky, David Foster Wallace, & Paul Kalanithi.
Untitled by Milan Coughlin (10)
Art by Milan Couglin
Homesick with a bowl of soup
The soup doesn’t do anything
It’s just soup
But your mom said it helps
Or at least that’s the first thing she always offered when you’ve been sick
I’ll drink the soup,
Even though I’ve never really liked it
It feels wrong to drink it,
It’s soup, this won’t make me feel better
But you do for some reason
Maybe your mothers words meant something for once
Maybe you finally trusted, and she was right this time
Or maybe you’re just drinking soup
Covered in blankets and cold sweat
Trying to be cured by a can of one dollar chicken noodle soup
Maybe it wasn’t your mothers words
Maybe you should’ve never trusted her and you never will
You start thinking about your mom now
And you start to get sad
You don’t want to drink the soup anymore
So you swish what's left of it around the bottom of the bowl
Your throat still hurts
Your cough has gotten worse
It’s getting cold again
It’s still warm where you used to be
Some part of you will always stay there
So you’ll always run hot and cold
You take the last sip of it
Sluggishly trickling down your throat
It’s lukewarm, familiar
You don’t like how it heavily sits in your stomach
But it’s done
And you don’t feel any better
What am I supposed to do now?
With You by Abigail Amos
Where have you gone?
I've been searching for the answers
The reasons you left
The reasons I'm still here
This empty house serves for nothing but the memories I can't have
I feel locked inside
Why did you leave?
My stomach feels sick
Something's not right
The photos of your smiles stare me down
The walls haunt me
I curl up, a ball of tears and regrets
Why am I here?
What was once ours is now only mine
A house used to lock my sentiments inside
To torment me with the memories of when it was home
Somewhere I will never return to
Somewhere that has long been forgotten
People say home is where the heart is
Then mine died along with you
Art by Abigail Amos
Abandoned House by Millie Farley (10)
Photo by Kevin Farley
There was an abandoned house off the back field of my old school. The outside was all white vinyl siding growing green algae. It had low ceilings and big empty squares where glass windows were missing. The light would shine through wonderfully, but it was cold in the winter. We would leave flowers to dry on the old window sills. We cleared the house up after first finding it, though you can only clear up such a messed up place so much. We bought camp chairs, played DnD, messed about and photographed everything. Our names and quotes and angry secrets were written across the walls, sometimes big, but mostly small. Inside it smelt of comfort, adrenaline and something unhealthy for our lungs; musty and moldy. It wasn’t safe nor sanitary to hang out there, but we were young and we would anyway.
We leaf through the few photos you have in your hands. It’s been three years and we’ve mostly forgotten about the abandoned house. About each other too, honestly.
We randomly met outside Farm Boy, you’re in town to visit your family. You have glasses now, brown with a faint pattern. You dyed your hair too. It looks alright.
We talk for a while, wind brushing our clothes, the cement wall of the supermarket rough against my hand. You say a few quiet sentences, about fate and the funny way these coincidences happen. Then you pull out the photographs. You had found them this past weekend, helping clear out your dad’s storage room. You’d only looked at them a few times since. It leaves sad thoughts and unpleasant nostalgia sitting in your stomach. It’s a nice feeling when you look at them with me now, you say, but you’ve still never liked feeling the past.
Too Far Away, Too Soon by Kayla Nixon (10)
Frowns melting and morphing
Into berry stained grins
Back when we were grubby children
Sneaking too far away, too soon
Souls tattooed on mine, irrevocably
Bruises & scars & inside jokes
Scary stories I told fast
Molting in the light of young imagination
Always chasing something
We spent our early years running
Only now, to look back
At how far we came
I'll show you the stars
Glued on my ceiling, traced on my hands
Point through fireglow
Our eyes heavy
Biding my time to break out
Pacing the woods, river, streets, sky
When did I become
The ghost of the stories I wove
Photo by Kayla Nixon
Things I never had by Mica Read (10)
Looking Glass by Liv Kelford (10)
I left my home,
infatuated with places I’d never seen,
ideas I’d never heard.
The world I knew before had grown too small,
the skin I shed was never enough for me to fit in
My world is bigger now,
Sometimes I wish that I’d stayed,
that I’d gotten to know my childhood better,
but it didn’t stick around for long,
I was tired of missing things I never had.
Photo by Mic Rad
Everything is different now--
The cracked alley is paved,
The saplings are grown,
The children are gone.
The happiness that once resided,
Disappeared in the wind.
One day, one night,
One week, one month;
It passed before our eyes.
Childhood is over,
As if it never happened.
I miss the beating heart,
Pumping blood to the homes,
Fresh air for the souls;
I miss the youthfulness,
The carefree nature,
The safety and warmth.
I miss the chaos,
I miss the noise.
I miss the place this used to be.
I’m so homesick.
Photo by Liv Kelford
Soccer Medals by Larissa Egarhos (10)
Photo by Larissa Egarhos
Miles stood proudly next to his best friend, smiling at his mother as she flashed the camera. She had probably been smiling too, behind the lens. In the photograph, Miles’s dimples were on full display, spiky hair drooping with sweat, a soccer medal in his hand. I looked closer and noticed the word ‘participation’ scrawled across his medal, and the word ‘third place’ on his best friend’s. But Miles’s smile was bigger, his eyes glowing brighter.
The other photo was from Miles’s high school graduation. He stood next to his friends, head leaning to one side, a closed-mouth smile. His eyes seemed smaller, his eyebrows darker, his eye bags deeper. All around him, his friends were elated. Bouncing in their spot, anxious to move on. But Miles’s feet were planted firmly in place. He didn’t want to leave. Everything was here. Not in university, not at a job. Here. But he could never go back and live it all over again.
There were no other pictures I could find. Miles’s old room was practically empty. When he moved out, he must have taken most of his things with him; his medals, his albums, his journals. Did he leave these photos here on purpose?
Miles didn’t talk to me about his childhood. Maybe it was too much to bear. Once, when his childhood friend paid a visit to our house, the man told me who Miles used to be; smiling, sarcastic, not a care in the world. I had sort of gotten that from the first photo. I just couldn’t believe it was possible.
Meander by Jasmine Harold (12)
This continent is a labyrinth. An absence of walls. Whiteness for miles on end. The lonesome truth of an Arctic expedition is that I’m left with myself and the poor excuse of my own guidance. Against my better judgement, you cloud my mind with such bitterness, the same bitterness I swore to leave behind. If only I could freeze to death in this lonesome sorrow, perhaps then I’d recall the reason I’m so cross with you. It escapes me at the moment. I’m still wearing the white-striped gloves you knit me.
I look out in the distance for any comfort this cruel place could offer but all I’m met with is the blinding wrath of snow, pile after pile until the horizon cuts it clean. The only thing that silences such miserableness is just how much you’d hate it here. God, to think I'd escaped your grasp at last, only to find that all I can think of are the hands that drove me away.
After hours of walking, no time left to pray, time attacks me minute by minute. All that’s left for me to feel is the shivering of my muscles, and even that stops eventually. My hands are blurred and I taste something metallic, but I can still make out the stripes that wrap my fingers in the colours of our home. I walk off again, a final strike with helpless determination. I beg under my breath to be met with anything at all; a sign of a soul, a remnant of civilization. But snow in front, snow behind, the illusion of blue in the moonlight like a glacial oasis. That’s all there is. I cry out to the darkness. No answer, no excuse to return, although I’ll put my feelings aside for once to make room for the nonsense I miss like a knife in the heart. Take me back.
Come the fourth day, I pass a trace of human life- a feeble little thing of a gravestone. Written ‘Here lies’ with its name smudged off. A sorry fellow whose last moments were spent engulfed in blizzard, with nothing but his broken promises and his white-striped gloves.
Hospitality by Enzelika Scharf (10)
Photo by Enzelika Scharf
I find when I have more clarity in my mind, the environment around me is cleaner. I'm not sure if I do it subconsciously, but when at ease, the world around me mirrors.
Everyone always said that your room, your home, your safe space reflects your mind and I don't think I believed them until now. But it isn't a matter of changing the atmosphere to heal, it's a matter of healing to change the atmosphere.
You don't get anywhere if your motivations are corrupt. Which is why we're still at this stance.
I was never your daughter, and you were never my father. Simply a chauffeur. I was just a mere guest every second weekend, your house was never my home.
My home is warm. It isn't stale white, it isn't empty with modernism. My home has memories, art from my siblings, and imperfections plastered over drywall.
We lost a year, and your silence restricted me to another cold, empty environment. Except in this one they prioritized me, my health. And gradually my hospital became safer than your mansion. With enough effort and clarity, the year-long forced hospitality became a home.
But we'll never get there, not now that my motive has been modified by your ironically ear-piercing tranquility.
Nothing's The Same by Adelia Wood (10)
The crows circle my head,
and a raindrop slips down my cheek,
My chest caves in.
It hurts in my jaw and my calves.
My boots splash through mud,
soiled clothes and broken skin,
The bloody skeleton of a deer by the road,
my eyes sting and shut.
Lawn decorations: a garden gnome crying
beneath a dark gray sky,
This was the sunniest place.
My heart aches,
my lungs burn,
panting through the pain.
It’s all still here
But it’s different
How can I grieve something I haven’t lost?
I thought I’d find myself again if I came home,
but I guess what made it home died;
The flame in your chest that dimmed until it was gone
and left us all cold.
I slept in the bathtub,
wrapped in my hospital quilt.
The crows cooed in my ears through the night
And the mud dried on me
Art by Adelia Wood
Write by Megan Davies (10)
Photo by Megan Davies
I feel the love in the room attach to my soul and follow it to the end of the string
Intertwining itself in my memory
Etching its name into it’s golden fibers
The strumming of guitars plays, providing an unasked for ambiance
A thought crosses my mind:
Will this be a moment I feel fade away, watching as their bodies blur till all that’s left is the silhouette?
A silhouette of what used to be the brightest lights in my life?
Or will it be a moment I will forever remember, a song I’ll hear as I recall this day?
I remember the way their fingers moved.
How they jumped from string to string, I remember thinking how I wished I could do that.
I remember them telling us their recently decided band name, a name they stuck with through their whole career.
I remember the way their voices mixed and how she forgot the lyrics to the song she had chosen.
I remember that they had their first ever big performance the next day.
I remember how she offhandedly mentioned that her tendinitis was kicking in.
I remember every moment.
Their songs do play over in my head when I recall them, or that day.
I’ve listened to the originals and other covers but nothing lives up to their rendition.
The melody lolled me to sleep for weeks,
Until its notes and harmonies were replaced in time.
Blanketing me beneath its rhymes
I felt at home.
With their words playing behind my eyes, I counted the strums like sheep.
Falling into a deep sleep
Each night, oh how I wish they’d still write.
Neighbourhoods by Hailey Robertson (10)
The old buildings are now all torn down or about to be. The crumbling brick of the single family homes, replaced with metal-panelled high rises for singles. The small shops, replaced with corporate businesses, chain restaurants and over priced supermarkets.
And the streets that were once for school children, with crossing guards and parents holding hands, the parks where the playful shrieks of youth filled the air, and the close knit community where everyone knew everyone, has disappeared.
The sweet smells of small bakeries, fresh sourdough and baguettes, chocolate chip cookies and red velvet cupcakes, replaced with the newer, sadder smell of cigarettes masked by cheap perfume.
The once quiet streets are littered with noise and exhaust from the bumper to bumper traffic. Impatient drivers and crowded city buses replace families taking their dogs for an evening walk and children dawdling behind on their bikes. The once ever present pedestrians, now the rare sight, retreat to the side streets in hopes of finding the quiet.
The streets that once slept at night, with only the faint glow of the stars, are blinded by the fluorescent streetlights, billboards and store signs.
I’m older now, I’m gone too, but I didn’t think it would all change. I return to a place I feel I’ve never been before. I’m homesick for what we both used to be. For a quiet neighbourhood, for people whose stories were never told on the big screen, for places only few were lucky enough to know. And for a small girl, who was sure that the world wasn’t any bigger than that place she called home.
Photo by Kevin Farley
Mimicked Memories by Madeline Finney (9)
The sick feeling in my stomach overtakes me when I think of my family.
I miss their smiles and laughter, traits I hoped to hold onto when entering a new chapter.
I wait impatiently for their weekly calls, thinking carefully about every possible memory.
I endlessly scroll through their Facebook pages to feel at ease, it rarely works.
I anxiously fidget with the hair tie on my wrist when talking to new people.
I recall how easily mine and my friends’ personalities mixed back home.
Every morning I smile to myself while thinking about the frequent arguments over the bathroom. My siblings and I would each claim our innocence if our parents got mad.
My mom told me one thing before they left my dorm, “You won’t feel at home until you make it your home”.
The more I stay and add photos of family, the more at home I feel. It’s just what my mom wanted; I hope she's proud of me.
My latest memory with my parents mimics my earliest: in both, all three of us were in tears, except one is of me coming into their home and the other is of me leaving
Hiraeth by Nova Waldolf (10)
The longing for a place to which you will never return
But maybe it wasn’t a place
Maybe it was seeing you smile for the first time
Maybe it was the smell of sage and the wood stove burning in the corner
Maybe it was the Laufey song I played for you
Hoping you were paying as much attention to the lyrics as I was
It was the sting of cold wind in my ears
Blocking out all the words you said
Maybe I wasn’t leaning in closer just to hear you
I don’t think I was
But everything is different now
I am mourning the memories of when everything was perfect
I still see you every day and yet
You act like a stranger,
no longer meeting my eyes
Maybe it is mutual
But I know in my heart
We can never go back.
Photo by Nova Waldolf
Never Mine by Avalon Fischer (10)
I was crazed
I was livid,
I expected to feel sad
almost wanted to feel sad,
but I didn’t.
I simply felt resentment,
sorrow for the precious time I lost
to keep the memories I couldn’t let go.
It’s been ten days,
seven plus three
two by five,
twenty-four hours, over and over again,
You told me you were my home,
you told me to love you,
you told me to need you,
so I did.
The days went on,the weeks, the months, the years.
My reasons not to stay, built up against you
stacked one by one,
heavier by the pain you cut
deeper into every sore,stinging the rough slits of your words
into every sweat as of red
you dug to feed your own mind
of my conformities against yours.
I never wanted this aching wave of animosity,
I never wanted the rush of swords pointed to you.
Despite the digression of my thoughts
despite the crushing of my bones by your hands
for the lie you said was healing.
I was shaking, scared.
Not of you, for you, for myself.
For if I stayed any longer
there wouldn’t be a ladder long enough
to save myself.
I needed thread for your compliments,
Where is my home? by Siwar Alrafati (11)
Where is my home?
Is it the nation where I first breathed life?
Where I spoke my first words,
And took my first steps?
Or is it the nation that took me in?
Welcomed me with open arms?
Ones I mistook for an embrace?
Before they turned their backs on me?
Or is it the nation burned down?
Is it the rubble and the flames and gas?
Is that where I belong?
Is that my home?
“On Eid, we ask you,
Why do we not have gifts?
My nation is burned down,
My Nation and my Freedom
A Note From The Editors:
Thank you so much for reading our edition of spotlight, it means a lot to us.
Thank you Katie Dunn for the beautiful title artwork! You're an incredible artist and your submission was very helpful!
Thank you to Mr. Blauer and Mr. Serroul for supporting us on this journey!
We wish luck to all future spotlight groups!
Thank you to everyone who submitted, you made this possible!
We've had so much fun creating this and we hope you loved reading it!
- Abigail, Adelia, Avalon, Ella, Enzelika, Megan, Mica, Nova ♡