Poem: Home?

By Martina Amate Perez

Read a formatted pdf of the piece here.

I think about home and I struggle to decide

How is it best defined?


Often times, home is what’s unseen

A curing breath of air that reminds you of routine

Or, rather, what is felt

A forgiving sunset that relaxes you like a loosening belt


The salsa music and exciting beats that embrace you as you step outside 

Or the tear stained notebook with words you no longer recognize

The feel of your favorite chair that allows you to slouch at the perfect angle

Or the taste of that homemade dish for which you are eternally thankful


The contagious laughter of your favorite person that always ends with a sigh

Or the animated jingle of the ice cream truck that always zooms by

The piercing voice of your mother that makes silence seem strange

Or the swift sound of the train that rushes underground without change


Sometimes it takes a global pandemic

Sometimes it takes a difficult day

To reminisce on all this 

To appreciate all that you miss 

But who am I to say?


Home is what you long for at night after a day of non-stop stress

Home is where you can look your worst but feel your best

Home is what makes your most wonderful version bloom

Home is what you know will always be there for you


Home is where you’re filled with unmatched comfort and peace

Home is what makes your embarrassing, multisyllabic laugh unleash

Home is knowing you have someone to care for you

Home, as Sandra Cisneros says, is what you always come back to

But who am I to say?


Who am I to say when millions can’t indulge in such idealistic definitions of home?


What do my words mean to the immigrants and asylees being detained like caged animals and torn from their mothers, fathers, and children?

To the millions of people who are trying to survive off a dollar or two while some sit on billions?


I don’t know.


What do my words mean to my queer friend who was forced back “home” from college but was met with no bed, with nowhere to stay?

To the thousands of stateless citizens in this world living without basic protections in any way?


I don’t know.


What do my words mean to Black Americans being murdered under an oppressive system, constantly fearful in their own country, with their tomorrows unclear?

To the children whose households aren’t fostering peace, but rather crippling anxiety, abuse, and fear? 


What does home mean to them?


What can I make of home in such an unsettled world where millions don’t have a true home of their own? 


I’m sorry.

I don’t know what home is anymore,

I don’t know what home is anymore 

In a time when home can mean everything 

Or absolutely nothing

I just don’t know.

Martina Amate Perez is a sophomore in Davenport College. You can contact her at .