Where the Heart Beats

By: Betsy Cha

Perhaps the first

Was the open sky

Infecting above the carpeted ground.

Books astray in an old wicker basket,

Just enough room for a girl to climb in.

Crayons drawing, thoughts wild; just

imagine at your fingertips

The World.


Quicken the taunt

That was the painful play.

He’d pluck at ponytails,

Harp on flaws,

But idols crafted in gold

Grow larger after each disappointment.

Deserted to keep pleasing, always inspiring,

To be justly, simply, exactly

Like him.


Relish the time,

Where the universe hums

In perfect tranquility:

Before the turbulence,

When words are silent, but not unheard.

When will we be judged as equals?

When eating lunch together, playing soccer


Laughing ‘til our cheeks and stomachs hurt,

You cared.

Why did you call for its banishment?


Straighten up now,

Only perfection is tolerated.

Park those tires straight,

That’s an order.

Be organized. Remember.

Stop fidgeting. Think.

Listen to the words sputtering from my


Let me scream to calm these waters,

Let me hurt you to regain my own breath.

Lying scattered among the discarded, the

used, and the fallen.

Don’t worry

Because families always love,

That’s the bloody obligation

Our snare.


Turn the cheek,

Another year passes.

A home now vacant discards the fear.

Filling its bosom with music that could


You deaf at first inhale.

When I sing, there is a hollowed echo,

A dance with solely shadows,

But the air is finally clean.

But perhaps what they say is true,

Home is where the heart is.

But you have to survive every beat, stroke,

and tremor

To truly appreciate

What was.