Marta Olson

Marta Olson won first place in the Housing Leadership Council’s 2021 Youth Poetry Competition (6-12 category).

Poems on Belonging

IN THE PARK, 3 BLOCKS AWAY

The grass is wet under our feet as we run 
And it’s dark, so dark
We cannot see
Without the light of the absent moon

At the crest of the hill
We fall to the ground
Starfish on top of the world
Sweat and dew soaking our clothes

Everything is clean and crisp and clear 
The cold sinking into our bones
Deep enough to almost numb
But we’ve never felt so alive

The stars are barely visible
It’s never the perfect night
But you brought bread and apples 
A feast for us alone

We should have been home an hour ago 
But we’ve found a new one
In the park just up the street
Held fast in each other's arms

So we look down on the glowing city 
Ours that glitters in the night
We swear to never leave this home 
And wish to never grow up

THURSDAYS

The morning brings the chirp of keyboards and the clack of birds 
And my family of 5 to the kitchen for breakfast

The fridge is still broken and the milk is gone sour again 
So we celebrate with toast instead of cereal

And then off to work divided into rooms
Where we can still hear each other, just a little less

And it's perfect in an imperfect kind of way 
A house, alive, turned to a home.

NEIGHBORS

Sidewalks aren’t wide enough 
To stay distanced
So I usually walk in the street

And you would think 
All this extra space 
Would drive us apart

But I get more nods than I used to 
An occasional “hello”
A pleasant “Good afternoon!”

A small acknowledgment
That we are all in this together 
Holding on till summer

Now
When I leave my house 
It feels like home too

Copyright © 2022 by Marta Olson. Used with permission of the author.