Where I’m From
By Lillian Wood
Where I’m from, dust gets in your ears, your eyes, your nose. The desert surrounds you like a warm hug and leaves a trace wherever it goes. I’m from tents that shiver in the wind and rain that’s welcomed like an old friend that hasn’t visited in a long time. Where I’m from, the desert is a vacation from reality.
Where I’m from, campfires warm more than blankets and outside is a place of refuge from a
heart that can never make up its mind. Where I’m from, the cool water of the river is a baptism from Mother Earth herself. I’m from Hyside and dry bags that never really stay dry until dad teaches you how to properly pack them. I’m from Westwater and Ruby Horsethief and a cracked tailbone from cliff‐diving at Black Rocks.
Where I’m from, motherly love is as warm as the sleeping bag that you pack in the trunk for another trip to an oceanless beach. I’m from fatherly love that only the howl of a coyote can awaken. I’m from torn apart and put back together with electrical tape. I’m from candy cigarettes and “don’t tell your mom that I gave you these”. Where I’m from, pain builds character. I’m from “put the galotchi on it” and “buck up”.
I’m from one family as close as the scales on a lizard and another as distant as desert borders.
Lillian Wood is from Salida, Colorado and won Pearl in ZO’s 2016 Teen Media “Get Away” Expo. “I’ve loved writing since I was a little kid. I also grew up spending a lot of time camping and rafting in the deserts of the western United States, and it’s given me a lot of inspiration for my writing. For me, the desert has always felt like a home away from home, but, more than anything, a getaway from my own reality. I’ve always found a sense of calm in the vast, dry landscape of the desert. It may be far away from civilization, but there’s nowhere where I feel closer to Mother Earth. I wrote this poem based on that love for the desert.” — Lillian