My Home-Your Home- Our Home

By: Meeta Virmani
Lady Irwin College, New Delhi, India

This place where I live, I call my home,
The home as I know, leaves no one alone.

The home is my house, my community, my nation
The home is your house, your community, your nation.

When the home remains same for both me and you,
On what grounds then, are we divided in blues?

Why can’t my home be yours? Why can’t your mother be mine?
Why do we stay away? Between us, who drew this line?

This line which demarcates and differentiates your home from mine,
This line that is so destructive, so capable to obliterate the sublime.

Should we now pause for a cause, a pause to recreate the creation.
Which shuns away hatred, breaks away walls of discrimination!

I ask again, I request, if to you it seems fine.
Can my home be yours. Can your mother be mine?!

My True Home

By: Gentille Kampire Constance

Davis College, Akilah Campus Rwanda

 

The immaterial part of a human being

Which keeps all of us living

Where we find ourselves loving

With Limits or limitless

That’s what I call home.

My heart,

Origin of my personality,

Where I reflect with no one

Find reason for whole

That is my true home.

Where memories never fade

And passion keeps pushing.

Where all dreams come true

With strong feelings and emotions.

Where I can’t lie to myself

Show how special I am

That is my true home.

 

Where I’m From

By: Andreea-Bianca Morecut

Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, United States

 

i am from sea and mountains and plains

and hills

i am from the weeping willow with its swinging tears from the warm, honeyed tea

and the ginger-mint lemonade

i am from beautiful landscapes

and cozy interiors

with fireplaces, porch swings

and soft classic rock notes sinking in the background

from the cautious sounds

of fingers flying across a keyboard

or the turn of the page, in which my whole universe lied

i am from the wind in the trees

and a full view of the milky way in the night sky

from day hikes and night camps

and picking mushrooms in the forests

i am from the fresh, cold smell of nature

and of the freshly baked bread

i am from the city, the hustle and bustle

of crowded trains and early school mornings

from cozy cafes

and silent libraries

i am from an ever busy city center

and a driven friend group

from weekly musings on philosophy, politics, and principles and heated debates about TV shows

from the silent nights in my room, alone

to outings with friends or game nights with my baby brother i am from rushed outings for bubble tea and sushi

and always sprinting home because of my curfew

from hurried writing sessions

and late-night reading ones

i am from the feeling of the book in my hand

and the wandering hands across the spines in my bookshelf the gentle, warm feeling of belonging 

 

I Miss the Stars

By: Andreea-Bianca Morecut

Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, United States

 

i miss the stars

the night sky, riddled with glittering jewels

the wishes of children

and prayers of elders

i miss looking up, just two hours out of town

and not being able to see one truly dark spot in the sky

i miss the carelessly drawn swipe of watercolour

dashing across the sky

and using some no-name app on my dad’s phone

to find the names of constellations

at the side of my lil brother

“uite acolo! nu, acolo! cum de nu vezi?”

were nights spent out camping

in the fields

with spring water and running skies

i miss being able to see the sky moving

together with the earth

in a menacing swirl of no pollution and cutting, cold night air

feeling small and, at the same time, meaningful

i would sacrifice hot showers for the trip

all over again

who needs running water when you have 5-litre water bottles?

vorbind de dusuri

imi e dor de dusurile de stele cazatoare

si simplul act de uitat in sus si vazut un univers… mai multe? n-as putea zice i miss making up new constellations

and ‘that’s a shopping cart, not a bear’

and wondering what the night sky looks like someplace else

imi este dor de cerul de acasa

and it’s the first thing i’ll get a glimpse at

once i’m back 

 

Unpaid

By Pranchal Gupta

Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi, India

 

A service that remains unpaid,

A full-time job over the years.

Amazing profession, but without promotion,

Neither appreciation nor recognition.

Double work on holidays without any extra pay.

The lunch box is ready, packed with love.

Her whole day is full of work,

From washing the clothes to cleaning the floor.

After the restless day,

Dinner is ready on the table with the same love.

She wakes up the earliest and falls asleep last,

Although the next day,

She needs to repeat the whole task.

She is your mother or your sweetheart,

Whom you call a housewife,

Doing nothing, staying at home,

She is the one who works the whole day,

To make it a home sweet home.

Pistachio

By: Eliza Siegel

Barnard College, New York City, United States

 

in my empty summer bedroom

 

dreaming in blue

 

I cradle my stomach,  a hollow cavern

from which I cannot see the sky

 

seeking pleasure, or something stronger

than pleasure, I switch the fan on,

 

am hit not

with air but

                dust

 

tonight the house is damp with a desire affixed

 

to nothing.

I converse with the silence,

 

scratch my skin as if

to wriggle out,

 

I long to escape the butter-lamplight that

casts my freckles as frenzied ants

 

and mottles the bruises

madly dancing

down my calf

 

coalescing in a peninsular shadow

before scattering again, undone

 

how can I cry out when my mouth is full of moths?

 

stifled, giving in to the ecstasy of gnats

cresting my head

 

I forget I am alone,

cradled by a swarm of ghosts

 

quiet is unhooking each vertebra from the next

before sinking into bed. 

 

The Missing Pages of a Textbook

By Nandini Rawat

Indraprastha College for Women

textbooks tell every child

the difference

between a house and a home

but they don’t tell

what to do

when a house isn’t a home

 

shut yourself out and seek out books

read and pine for lives

that will never be yours

thick tomes dense with words

too heavy for young wrists

the label “gifted” a flimsy gauze

for your bleeding mind

 

stand under a showerhead, dry

don’t let the water wash away the grime

it is your shield

against large hands and hot exhales

against unyielding thighs and bony knees

or so you think but all it gets you

are isolated corners

and repulsed faces

 

when a house isn’t a home

but a building

where the air is too heavy

to pull into your lungs

and the exit disappears

behind you

and the walls keep coming

closer.

 

Home

By Cristella

Uwiringiyimana Davis College Akilah Campus Rwanda

Short but not too short

Small but not too small

Colorful but not too much

Home is my stronghold

 

Beautiful palace is where I belong

The heavenly gift is what I was given

Succulent is what I live with

Home is my stronghold

 

Rights to live in harmony

Rights to education

Rights to pray

Home is my stronghold

 

Bright as the moon

Sun as the shadow

Stellar as the stars

Home is my stronghold

 

Live to grow

Sleep to rest

Wake to rise

Home is my stronghold

The apple of my eye

The rollercoaster of my emotions

Whenever I think of my home, my mind fades away

Home is my stronghold

 

As quiet as the air

As white as the snow

As strong as a castle

Home is my stronghold

 

Lovely like baby born

Laughter is like my soul music

Surrounded like the watery cycle

Home is my stronghold

 

The Mystery of Home

By Gisele Abizeye

Davis College Akilah Campus Rwanda

Some say home is just a place,

And to others it is a cherished space,

contemplating a little,

Both of them get belittled.

 

The instance you are not safe,

In the place you call home,

Would it be cherished?

Or the risk you didn’t want to take?

 

Realize trafficking exists,

Wickedly thrusting you to an exit,

Your home dwells in your heart,

An emotion that stays hurtful.

 

 Orphans have it the hardest,

Invading their otherwise peaceful minds,

Is the traumatic thought of the least?

Scarcity of all the aspects of home belonging.

 

Call not home a comfort zone,

Because you might end without one,

Some would live without a sense of safeness,

Since they have never had that zone.

 

Literally home is merely a perception,

For it’s dependent on your definition,

Some feel homeless with just the place,

Yet others have it all and still feel homeless.

 

Decidedly, safety is my perspective,

As I don’t need to feel forced admitting,

That I feel safe away from some relatives,

I could have otherwise viewed as my safetynet.

 

Sadly many homeless are  unaware,

They have believed the wrong definition,

That shallowly covers only the surface,

And heavily rejects the whole introduction,

 

Find your home and live in it,

It is  just a unit,

That is missing in your perception,

To fill out the whole definition.

Many Faces

By Odile Uwimphwe

Davis College Akilah Campus Rwanda

People come by it diversely.

When it comes to home, people would give different definitions.

A shelter, a peaceful and calm place in their minds, some would surprise you.

As for some after a long day of work

A bed for the night will do to make the whole description.

 

Confused is the five year old

Trying in vain to understand how and exactly why

The one place that brings joy, happiness, comfort, and familiar faces

The same in which;

He experiences anxiety, panic, and sometimes, if he is not lucky, beatings.

All in one place he calls home “Mama’s home” or “Daddy’s home”.

With one stride of action, with one leg carried in a wrong direction

Joy, happiness turns into terror and the smiling faces turns into dark ones.

Then confused is his mind when he thinks of home as one would be if a mirror gave

A different reflection of the face he was viewing.

As he would be if that mirror was two faced or should I say many faced.

 

Single minded is the worker who, leaving his workplace tired

Exhausted, spent and drained of energy with one destination in mind: home.

A place with a warm, comfortable bed. The warmer and wider the better.

Nonetheless after waking up thinking of the face in the other part of the house, either

His wife or child, he remembers his problems, his money problems and last night’s conflict;

Home is no longer so safe and comfortable.

People cannot be blamed of being logical, can they? It’s no wonder whomever has no place to sleep is called homeless.

As if in a room with mirrored walls, each side gives its own reflection and so does home. So will a person get different answers if he asks a hall full of people: “What is home to you.”

Astonished he would think: “many answers as if many faced!” That is how he will go home with a new realization.

 

Where I Am From

By Peris Mwangi

Smith College

I am from the brick and tin-roofed house 

From the thickly carpeted living room floor

I am from the cold, red concrete floor of my bedroom 

From the soapy water and scented cleaning detergent

I am from the ancient creaky oakwood bed

From the possession of a duvet I’ve adored for years

I am from the tiny framed portraits hanging from my wall

From the 14-year-old picture album of my family on my dresser

I am from the pictures of daddy’s well-combed afro 

From mummy’s loosely fitting bell-bottoms

I am from the childhood memories of weekends spent at public parks 

From the lakeside camps and bonfires and road trips

I am from the evening painting lessons with mama 

From the sum solving sessions with daddy

I am from the pillow fights and real fights with my sisters 

From the nights we fell asleep in each other’s arms

I am from the dim lights at the fireplace 

From the bright light at my study table

I am from the big bowls of soup and potatoes at dinner 

From the house where candy and cookies are forbidden

 

But now I’m here. 

 

Awakening of a Warrior

By Yvette Dusabimana

Davis College Akilah Campus, Akilah, Rwanda

Nothing can stop her to believe,

Every morning is her new day to dream

Smile on her face, making herself and winding her waist;

She doesn’t know when, or how it will all end

The pain she gains, the scars all over her body

But she doesn’t care, she will rise again.

 

And rise she did, all her pain forgotten

Her tears wiped, her scars healed,

Her wings unfolded, and flies towards the sun,

Darkness behind her, she will never fall again.

 

Home

By: Malaika Kironde

Smith College, Northampton, MA, United States

 

I am from cement floors,

From vast spaces of farmland

And packed, stuffy traffic.

 

I am from goats and cows that roam where their ropes allow them to go,

And chickens that roam freely.

 

I am from kungu FM,

The station that is the primary source of news, gospel and local hits.

 

I am from meat that boils from dawn to noon,

And smells up the whole house.

How else would we make it soft?

 

I am from jiko’s and sigiri’s,

From food flavoured in banana leaves:

matooke nne ebigendareko.

I am from a dining table that is never big enough.

 

I am from gomesi’s, muchanana’s and kanzu’s.

 

I am from the heat.

I was born there and would like to die there.

 

I am from distant relatives, who I seldom know,

And functions that I always go.

 

I am from feeding the goats,

Putting down the mosquito nets,

And boiling water to bathe.

 

From the fresh air, but also the polluted air,

From the view of the lake that provides us with fresh fish.

 

I am from fighting over who eats the eye,

And buying nsenene by the road side.

 

I am from family and love.

Factory on Grove Street

By: Gabriella Tucciarone
Smith College, Northampton MA, USA

A red, bumpy, peeling-paint kind of factory.
The windows at night peek on the empty streets.
The light from the furnace in the factory flows into the road
Reaching the end by the bridge, where the light eagerly tries to climb.
On cold nights, the light shivers in the wind and hops within itself for a little warmth.

One particularly cold night, the old and stern furnace was mad with craving, and it began to eat itself.
As I was en route for home, I saw this old and nervous building begin to taste itself.
The flames licked the inside walls.
The windows clouded with smoke; they no longer peeked for empty night-time walkers.
Slowly, the flames ate the ivy that clung like veins.
The leaves on the ivy exploded like capillaries,
Into small bombs of ember that left small stains of ash on the sidewalk.
The furnace belched a giant puff of smoke as the roof was catapulted into the sky.

I noticed that the entire building was winking as it collapsed onto itself.
The wooden frames were shaking as its knee started to give.
The building had started bowing, and dipped down to bid me farewell.
As I put my hat on and walked away, I looked back at the trembling turmoil of a once great building and dear friend.

 

A Lack Thereof

By: Sarah Grissom
Mt. St. Michael’s College, Ashgrove, Queensland, Australia

For the 23 mediocre years in her life she had flown under the radar. Wandering eyes skimmed over the fifth and youngest child; her average grades were nothing to cheer for and her friends were merely companions with whom she could chat. School had passed and no one’s gaze ever lingered long.

The leaves were falling crisp and dry upon the dusty summer front lawns, where a lack of water meant lengthy days, leering and lamentable. Making her way slowly along the towns centre in her bland south-of-the city suburb, filled with unruly characters, she fit right in. Her clothes just like the rest, almost threadbare from talented and tainted generations alike, passed down through the years which barely scratched the surface of satisfactory.

For the 76 mediocre years in her life she had flown under the radar. Amounting to nothing more than predicted, amounting to nothing like what she had hoped. Resting weightlessly on her bed she passed, just as unnoticeably as she was born.

A Seat at the Table

By: Elizabeth Wayua Ndinda  
English Instructor at Akilah Institute, Kigali, Rwanda

This table…
Where is the table?
In a bar with men at 10 pm,
Sipping beers or wines or spirits.
Which she can’t.

My spirit sinks.
Tall, round, no arm rest or padding:
Her seat at the table.
Her rear doesn’t fit on the chair.
Her face oval like an egg.
Her skin spotless.
Shifty eyes, tight lipped.
Her lean figure is stooped so far,
She might be tying her laces.

My soul nosedives,

Scans around; their faces…
Vultures ready to feast
Ever hungry beast,
Each one of them.
She, the misplaced prey.
They are about to play
Introductions game: Name, Position, achievements.
Her, Lame Mrs So, Marital status, number of kids.

Our inspiration plunges into the sea bed.

Squeezing or shoving to get a place at the table?

The Praise of Power

By: Sophie Kamariza
Akilah Institute, Kigali, Rwanda

My mother is knowledge
Not only fetched from college
When around, no barrier can stop me
Even carrier won’t promote me
I don’t care for levels or positions
And I won’t be scared with oppositions.

For me, no need for sense of protocol
My presence brings all control
I influence the whole world
Because difference is all I need.

Though walking silently in the yards
Following my fans everywhere
My crown is not hard to wear
For all those pursuing me for years
My footprints last forever
Whoever accepts me can’t lose favor.

I am called Power
Not roaring, but blowing even to the poor
All traces of towns are mine
When I hide I am not gone
When back I am multiplied by nine

In front of difficulties I find possibility
Never caught in doubts during confusion
All because belief is my infusion
Catch me, own me and get dominion
Save me, protect me as a good companion
Make me a priority: authority will come toward you

for glory

By: Kerry LeCure
Smith College, Northampton MA, USA

i. the lust

consider: a girl with a smile like starshine, who straightens her hair with shinbones, has teeth like ivory. she drags her fingers across her clavicles leaving pale red streaks, her voice is whisper-soft, wonderful, even—or is it full of wonder? i don’t know, anymore—but it leaves tiny earthquakes in its wake. she is quicksilver in the marrow of my bones, but it’s difficult to breathe when she’s murmuring words into my thighs. i think that she paints her lips with blood, that her organs are made of pure surgical-grade steel, but it becomes so hard to tell when she’s got one hand in my hair and the other under his shirt. she ate my heart on a wednesday. i never got it back.

ii. the sloth

he traced words along your spine when he thought i wasn’t looking, languidly, wanted to eat you whole when your clothes were paint-splattered. i never told him that i’d noticed, that i didn’t care, because the way he reached for you was nauseating. instead i breathed lazy smirks and half-hearted sighs, hummed along with the bark in your voice, leaned into the callouses on his fingertips. i loved him, too, but it was the way that his heartstrings tangled around themselves for you that kept me quiet.

iii. the greed

we let ourselves be consumed, or maybe—we consumed you, endosymbiosis. you love the blood and grit of the bandages between your fingers, because it reminds you of a time when you were so powerless, he loves the way sweat slides down his chin, i love the sound of change hitting cement, and we’re the mob, now, knocking down doors. or rather—you’re the mob and you’re knocking down your own doors, forget about who you were, who you are, who you will become. you try so hard that i forget, too, even when his hands are on your hips, even when i’m reminding you to breathe, breathe, breathe.

iv. the gluttony

you wrapped your fingers around his shoulder blades. i’ve heard they were knobby and cold and i would know them in death. you were all teeth and shit-eating grins, bite anyone who got too close (kiss anyone who got too close). his tongue was wicked, sharp, paper cuts against bruised knuckles, globs of blood rolling down fits and chins and you savored every moment of that, soaked it up, because it reminded you of yourself, like how you licked your hands clean when they got too dirty when you ate his heart for breakfast. ate my heart for breakfast, but that’s the part they forget. that’s the part everyone forgets. it’s easy to forget because you’re always wanting more: breathe in, breathe out, remember that to take a step forward, you’re supposed to take five back. or something like that. it’s been so long.

v. the envy

i missed you like a limb, he missed you like he’d miss his own heart. it’s quiet these days with only the rain to keep us company, sometimes when the moon is halfway across the sky i catch him with your paintbrushes, his eyes running mad. sometimes i wish i was as selfish as you, a pack-up-runaway girl made of stardust, sometimes i wish he’d cling to my hand the way he clung to yours.

vi. the wrath

he wakes up sometimes and won’t talk for hours, only paces and tries to work through the white-knuckled frustration, and when i say he needs to get over it, he’ll tell me that we’re the same, he and i. we’re the same, we share the tension in our fists, our jaws, our shoulders. we’re bruising touches, clashing teeth, blinding smiles, keep it all bottled up until it’s too late. i haven’t seen him like this since he first saw his mother’s reaction to his girlfriends, plural, because we’re all a little selfish, we all wanted until we couldn’t take anymore, except now you’re gone and he pulsates red-hot rage and i’m only made of quiet fury. i don’t miss you anymore, but i’ve heard he does. you forgot to call.

 

vii. the pride

i do not forgive you for filling up all the spaces of my heart, but sometimes i forget that you didn’t asked me to—forgive you, that is. and when i kiss you, you taste of the stars and the sun and the moon, but you murmur into my skin that i am bruised knees and crinkled paper shoved into pockets. you remind me that it takes two to tango. that my toes are just as bloody as yours. my bones creak in the evenings, sharp pops and blurry cracks. they feel so old these days, but i let you pretend they sing songs for you.

Open House

By: Jas Ganev
Castilleja School, Palo Alto CA, USA

Sunday.
The slamming of car doors,
The trudging of feet through mud,
The screeching of rainboots against a “Welcome” mat.

Sunday. Mother-daughter bonding time.
The shaking of realtors’ hands followed by
Fake smiles, false stories, and made-up names.

Sunday. Mother-daughter bonding time. Exploring mansions.
The whispers behind half-open doors,
The click of the camera,
The delighted laugh echoing through the halls.

Sunday. Mother-daughter bonding time. Exploring mansions. Creating her temporary fantasy.
A beacon of light shining through billowing white curtains
Onto the glistening marble floors,The flights of spiraling staircases,
The hundreds of hand-carved doors.
Sunday. Mother-daughter bonding time. Exploring mansions.

The widened eyes that become slits, shifting from awe to anger and greed,
Knowing that this house will be someone else’s,
Yet we will still drive by again and again.

Sunday. Mother-daughter bonding time.
Are we bonding, or am I bound to you?

Sunday.
I want to go home, Mommy. I want to go home.

Burnt

By: Srinidhi Panchapakesan
Agnes Scott College, Decatur GA, USA

I don’t get sunburnt, no matter how long I’m outside.
Maybe some people just can’t burn,
but I think my ancestors must have
befriended the sun thousands of years ago
and she gave us the gift of brown skin
so that she could shine as bright as she wanted
and we would only get darker,
while the people who invaded our land
would burn.

Kraken

By: Mya Alexice

Barnard College, NY, USA

you come

from the root krake,

meaning an unnaturally

twisted creature.

I could never pinpoint where

you began and where you ended,

always a writhing thing—

spiral staircase, sea

serpent drawn on an old map

half body arched up, the other

hidden in green water;

curling, coiling around me.

 

when i try to latch onto you,

to grab you by your oily neck—

it’s like trying to catch smoke.

 

I see you— there— slithering out

of reach. Nothing but a wet

dream, a tentacled lover easing

back into the abyss.

were you only myth?

 

did i truly see you that night?

do i light a candle at my bedside

table, hoping you’ll catch its

glare from the window?

do i set a bowl of water on

the sill, a small sea for a

weary, travelling snake?

do i offer a companion,

a believer, above all a

witness to your lore?

Morning Steam | MRO

By: Madeline Olson

Mount Holyoke College, MA, USA

I have not yet learned the meaning of Māori yet,

 and i don’t think unknowing foolish anymore

        only a wise risk of lingering instead

 

            but i do say this     sometimes i harbor things in life

                                      such as the rain i let drain          in my mouth

                                      before clearing  grey                       swallow

                                      such as

                                        the morning                                 the

                                             kawakawa                          tea steam

                                         climbing the cup to dance up

                                                 into the air twisting

                                                          its fog tail

                                                             steamy

                                              languid

                                                         unbothered

i  mistake     this morning mug steam                         

for clouds over     Lake Wakatipu    could mistake it for         

the chalky air     over its  neighbors :  The Remarkables           

Cecil Peak  / Walter Peak / Ben Lomond / Queenstown Hill        

              so when i recognized       this fog in my tea steam i learned 

                          i am    not the only harborer               

          because when morning lull starts breaking

          it is te iti kahurangi, rising, unfettered

    the landscape   was bustling   we spoke    it informed me

    morning too   could be treasured  simply because it safeguards,

                                                                                               simply because it exists.

And so  the other day  i bought a $39 ticket to meet

these chalky    clouds    as i ascended the houses

started falling,

                         red

               yellow

                            brown like feathers

                            floating dissolving

                                                             compressed from sight

                                                             while gondolas scaled the mountain

                                                                shearing the treetops

                                                             one

                                                             two

                                                             three

green                                                                

brown                                                        

white                                                 

                                                                     red 

                                        yellow

                                                                          brown like feathers

there are no more houses left once i ascended the 790m peak

Look! Says my neighbor over the rail

Look! means to see how the clouds shepard

the wedged yellow and red houses, tucking

it only cries, you fool!

Look! means to see that maybe these clouds hang on their own time and

       these mountains, these mountains are backbones

seated around the lake, the water, one silent muscle

                      the soleus, the rectus, the tendons of nature’s body,

                                    tendons of time.

And even though the clouds are thirsting,

and it is so temperate in this creation,

it’s okay to worry, the clouds whisper

to confess,

                 i don’t know if this morning

                 steam comes from the clouds or

                 from my breath

 

but i do believe

in dwellings existing together.

Maybe believe in harmony too

and the wind,  is a steel pipe that whistles,

tunneling the ears              howling them clean

releasing echos that spool  upon

teardrop water                            

                  the coniferous trees, an army,

                  marching  in tempo alongside me   

                  to witness the clouds, saying 

                  this is our sacred whenua

                                       and that’s why the air feels

                                     so fresh up here.

You see, i am not the only harborer  the tea steam,

is not simply air sublimating      and this chalky hillside,

 

 this chalky hillside is the sanctuary

for the stranger beside me

Bubblegum

By: Bethany Velarde

Agnes Scott College, GA, USA

Letting you read my poetry is

 

8th grade hallway

 

Giving away the last piece

Unwrapped

 

Squished and fingerprinted

 

Letting it hit your tongue and dissolve

Chew and churn

 

Watching you

 

Smack your lips to my hurts

Pop my words

 

Bite marks in a thin sheet

Bubblegum