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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 47 | December 09, 2007|


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My Favorite Places:
Where I Long to Be and Remember Being

Kameel Mir

Floating on the hot, moist, fragrant air
Its cloying scent filling my lungs and settling onto my skin
Watching the quiet sunrises, hearing the mullah's call to prayer
Giving way to the blast of car horns and the clamor from the street vendors

Beaten by the sharp, cold winds
Grazing my cheeks 'till they glowed re
Among small-town thoroughfares next door to sprawling corn fields
The comfort of sameness and simplicity that once ruled our lives

Enraptured by the tinkle and glimmer of little and glimmer of little pink bangles
Countless dresses sent by my grandmothers from across the world
Hand in hand with Ariel, Cinderella, Jasmine, and Belle
Lost in their world of handsome princes and mischievous talking animals
On trips to the apple orchard with my parents.
Playing games of a adventure with them among the haystack mazes
The musty scented straws sticking to my clothes and hair
Colored as golden as the sun setting on top of the windmill

In the arms of a strong-willed and independent mother
Fiercely proud, youthful naivety replaced by cynical wisdom
Side by side with an opinionated and secretly sensitive father
Perfectionist, poised to change the world
Kissing the cheek of a warm and sweet younger brother
Equipped with a certain understanding beyond his age
Feeling all of their hopes and expectations of me
Stirring inside me a determination to make them proud

Striding towards imposing brick school walls
Inhaling the spicy smell of paper and woody pencil shavings
My heart thudding against my rib cage with the familiar rush of competition
The need and desire to excel inset and unwavering
Giddy with the satisfaction of a job well done
Widening my horizon with each good grade
Shattered with the disappointing of shoddy work
A shadow cast, forcing the bright light of opportunity to dim

In our doorway welcoming hoards of guests
Greetings of “Salamwalaikum! (hello) and “Kamon acho?” (how are your?)
The room alive and dancing with colourful saris
Loud, cheerful gossip among the women
Heated political discussions among the men
Healed by the pungent, savory taste of my mother's chicken curry
Sitting in a crowded circle
While the talented sing sweet Bangla love songs with the harmonium
Listening to the sound of our culture and our pride in it
Pulsing from our glowing windoes

Buried in my shelves and shelves of storybooks
The flip, rustle, slice of pages turning
Revealing lands of magic and adventure, beckoning me to come inside Fusing with the main character
Laying open my heart, letting their thoughts and emotions rush in
Feeling their joy as boundlessly, and their grief as intensely,
As if they were my own
Staring at the celing for hours after finishing a story
Not quite ready to leave the world I had been sucked into
And wishing, wishing with all my soul
That I wouldn't have to
Watching the flat, grassy plains outside my car window
Turn into lush, rolling hills before my eyes
Zooming into a brand new life
The “Welcome to Georgia” sign first looming ahead,
Then behind us in a moment
Meeting so many varieties of people
Building new friendship while holding on to my old ones
Brought into a circle of families through our culture
Slowly settling into this world of crepe myrtles and Southern drawls

Hidden by the night, musical in its silence
Gazing at the ceiling, dreaming, remembering
Wishing I was, and wishing I could be
Torn between the beckoning future and the golden past
Illuminated by the shafts of sunlihgt shining through my windows
Reminding me that like the dawn, change is inevitable
It nudges you along, keeping you from getting stuck in one place and time
It turns you tow towards a golden path of promise and opportunity

So our lives more on
We grow and change and hold on and let go
Shout for idnividuality and independence
Silently plead for love and for someone to understand
The world changes
Babies are born and people die
Yet, when everything seems to transform right before our eyes
Know that deep down in our hearts,
We all carry a memory
A memory of a cherished place in time
The ghosts of those places shape our characters and mold our values
They help us remember others and keep us from forgetting ourselves
And no matter how much our hearts seem to move one.
Those places never stop being a part of us.

(This poem got her a national award in USA. Currently she is a 9th grader in Atlanta, Georgia)

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