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
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.
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.