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Going Home This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

All my whole life, I’ve been a collector of ideas. I’ve been an offering plate, passed around from person to person, mother to father, father to stepfather, friend to enemy to acquaintance. I’ve collected ideas from everyone whose hands I’ve passed through: Religion, from my grandfather, a late last name and a love for soccer from my stepdad, my laugh, my habits, my life views, and inability to connect from my mother. I have been an experiment, a filing cabinet, a drawer in the kitchen filled with paperclips, hi-liters, and happy meal toys. I have been a receptacle, a resting place for the ripe and well worn ideals as well as the mistakes and sadness of those who have already lived and learned.

My limbs are plains, measureless and promising with fertile soil and glowing horizons that redden and then smolder purple at the end of each day. There have been races, in the past, to see who could stake their claims first, and plant the seeds THEY wanted to plant, culture my plains in the manner THEY chose. My mother had plans, plans, plans for what she would do. She would plant daisies for innocence, orchids for perfection, and purple hyacinth, so that through me, she might be redeemed. My father also longed to have me for himself, although he had much less of an idea as to what he would do. His only idea was to plant forget-me-nots so that he wouldn’t be lost, wouldn’t slip through the cracks but be remembered through his daughter.


And so the races continued, and I was divided up and divided up, barbed wire fences strung savagely across my arms and legs with signs hung from the posts saying: “NO TRESPASSERS. KEEP OUT.” I was a prize. I was the redeeming light, the sole chance to erase past wrongs and live on as the person responsible for creating and preserving a perfect being. But as the contention for the light wore on, the space for culturing my own ideas quickly shrunk. I was consumed. My body was a million different nations, all at war for supremacy, unknowingly extinguishing the very light they raced for.

Christianity or nothingness?

My mother or my father's daughter?

Persistence or unraveling into sleep?




I had no outlets that were my own. Every road led to some part of me that already belonged to someone else. I became exhausted from the noise, tired of hearing heavy footsteps across my mind, the back door creaking open then shut, the vinegar words, “What the hell are you doing with your life?” I didn’t want to search and wander anymore. I was broken down from being picked apart till you could see the dove white pearl of my bones. I found myself thinking, “I just want to go home,” even when I was safe in bed at my house.


So one night, I took a drive to look for silence.


I drove to as many places as I could with only a quarter of a tank. I drove past the house where I used to live, and found it wasn’t the same with different cars in the driveway and new curtains in the windows. I drove past my night haunts, the place by the streetlight whose tired orange beam trickled weak like a spiderweb to the ground, and I could still smell the smoke. I drove past churches and houses and parks and cemetaries until I found myself next to an uncluttered field, yawning with space and absent of life. I stopped my car, and stepped out onto the asphalt with bare feet. The road was still warm from the long gone summer sun, and I could feel its rough, worn-down surface on the bottom of my feet. I breathed in once, feeling the humid air cloud up my lungs, and then looked up.


The field framed a glorious sky bound disaster, a perfect disagreement. To my left, a full moon glowed serenity white, tinged with the pale yellow of a baby’s bedroom. Orion shone out fiercely, protector of silence, of solitary travelers, of sleep. Around him blinked a million of his followers, mute, faraway guardians of ancient knowledge and controllers of the tide our minds ride out upon every night as we stare at ceilings.

“Sail, baby, sail, out upon that sea, only don’t forget to sail back again to me…”


And so the stars sang out with the blue-eyed lullabies of a little girl sleeping in her mother’s bed, while to my right, an altogether contrasting scene took place. Tremendous abyssal clouds, distant trains, were slowly beginning to blow in. They were embellished by purple diamond flashes of lighting, here and then gone. They called out ominously, though with voices subdued by distance, whispering Goliaths creeping over the land. Their stoic approach, a funeral procession, clashed in harmonious accordance with the lullaby of the moon and stars.


My skin was alive with electric blue, and I felt my own self, my OWN self radiating. Looking up at this overhead miracle slipping along over an unnoticing field, I knew exactly who I was. I was Kirby, persistent through all mistakes, sorry for the people she had wronged and hopeful for forgiveness, tired but alive, singer of songs, resilient, brave, unafraid. In that moment, I became me. The barbed wire fences melted away, every inch was reclaimed. I was no longer anyone’s redeeming light or storage bin. Every pore on my skin was my own. I was finally home.

(c) 2010




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