by Kaytlin Jenks

Home is where the dog is, and heart and the kitchen and the food. It is safety and family, security and warmth, love and freedom. A house is made of brick and stone, a home is made of love alone. Home is the eye of the storm, the storm itself and its own shelter. It is where I run from and run to. Home lives within me.
Home teaches me to belong to the dark and the light. I’m at home under the Sun and the Moon. In my home I can sit on the counter and climb the fridge to sit on the roof. The home my parents have never kicked me out of and never will. Home is where the heart breaks in the books I read, watching powerless as Ethan falls from the water tower, Harry walks silently to his death, Percy falls to Tartarus. Home is where I see everything. Home is where Teddy and I sleep and the place where my soul covers and drips from the walls.

It is the cave, the couch-bed becomes years later. It is lying on the floor staring at the ceiling and thinking, “I’m almost done, I can do this.” It is the garden I put my soul into and Kaylee’s sidewalk chalk drawings. Home is sitting in the chair with Maira while watching the Yellowstone and Lava Hot Springs home movies. Home is playing hide-and-seek in the hamper. The kitchen of Aunt Mona’s house and Thanksgiving is home. Home is where Alice and I play princesses and I defend myself with milk because she is attacking me. Home is when my best friend won’t let me hurt myself. Home is Pa and him noticing me trying to slip away but not letting me, and getting milkshakes. Home is Tuesdays with Grandma, the smell of love and premade cookies, and Harry Potter marathons, and orange chicken and being alone, and never alone. Home is the fragile comfort that comes from prayer after the fear has washed away.