Family is a noun I keep in my pocket
to warm me up on cold days.
It’s a feeling
that I get when I stare down the side of a mountain
and scream because the world is so
big and wonderful.
I just want my voice to reach every corner of it.
Mother and father aren’t only titles
but incubators; I’m the chick
growing day by day
in the warm light of their sun.
My older brother used to chase me and
we'd yell at each other,
trying to convince ourselves that the angst
we felt inside was justified,
but really, we needed
under the safe umbrella of childhood.
I could count our different homes on two hands,
but it was okay--
two hands and ten fingers were plenty for holding onto
everything I didn’t want to let go of.
In each house, I left a piece of me hidden in the
floorboards, hoping that someday I’d be able
to revisit who I was before reality chipped
away at my Technicolor dream world.
I’d look around and smell my mom’s cooking,
hear my dad’s jokes, and see my brother and I
playing together and say–
“This. Now this is what it meant to be free.”
I still can close my eyes and we’re back in the fields,
running after each other with the words
hope & love & fear & forever tucked into our jeans.
Our laughter becomes butterflies floating over those
mountains, touching all the lands our skin will never
feel and our voices will never
And we’ll breathe in and say together,
“This. Now this is what it means to be free.”
Writer, editor, and storyteller living in the Twin Cities.