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Camilla El-Sabbagh, Union County Vocational-Technical School       

Is it truly one place?

Because sometimes

Home is a beach

Or a park

Or my room,

When I’m all alone.


Does it have to be a place?

Because sometimes

Home is with my friends

Or my parents

Or sometimes my sisters

Or by myself in the dark.


What about what isn’t home?

Because sometimes

The safest places

That I love the most 

Aren’t home anymore,

Because of the people that are in them, 


And the words they say

Or don’t say

And how I feel

And how tired I am 

And how lonely.


Maybe home is an emotion. 

Maybe it reacts similarly to love,

Making you feel things you wouldn’t

Under normal circumstances,

A sort of blinder to your stress

Or useless anger or frustration

Or anxiety or fear

Or sadness. 


Maybe that’s why I feel at home

When I’m reading

Or watching a movie

Or playing a video game I like, 

Especially if the setting

Is someplace beautiful

Where I would want to live, 

And especially if the characters

Are people I can relate to 

Or people I would like to be friends with. 

That’s probably why I love writing,

Because I create my ideal world

That maybe someone else 

Would want to live in. 


I dreaded the idea of high school 

Over the course of that first summer,

Knowing that change was coming

And I would be really preparing myself

For the real world,

And the real world wasn’t 

Anywhere near as nice 

As the worlds I had read about in books

Or seen in movies

Or traversed in video games. 


I remember once 

When I was young 

I have a nice memory 

Of going to the beach 

With my family, 

And it felt like I wasn’t 

A three-hour flight from home.


I looked back on that

Years later 

And thought, 

“That’s what home feels like.”


And it felt just like

The places in the books

And movies and video games

That I had always wanted to go to.


Home isn’t an emotion, 

But it is a feeling.

The best feeling in the world.

And it’s as real as me. 

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