Finding Home Contest Winners

It’s hard to believe that National Poetry Month is drawing to a close, but we’ve saved the best for last here at YARN. As a culmination of the festivities, esteemed judge Meg Kearney has chosen a winner (who will receive a copy of Meg’s most recent novel in verse!) and two runners-up for our Finding Home poetry contest. Both Meg and we at YARN were blown away at the quality of this year’s contest entries, which transported us to homes around the world. A huge thank-you to Meg for judging and to all who entered for sharing your work with us. Please join us in congratulating the winners, whose work we’re delighted to share below!

Finding Home Contest Winner: 

“Where I’m From” by Alexandra Alessandri

Note from Meg Kearney:
I admire the music of this poem, and its rich, evocative details–then the last line really comes as a wonderful clincher; it is almost inevitable, but also is a surprise. Bravo!

Finding Home Runners-up:

“Finding Home” by YARN alum, Shari Green

“Colors of Home” by teen writer, Fatima Younis

Where I’m From

By Alexandra Alessandri

I’m from the Andes, from its
peaks and valleys and rivers
carving the rhythms of cumbia,
salsa, and bambuco on my skin.

I’m from the eje cafetero,
from its rich soil, dark with
colonization and coffee beans and
dame un tintico, por favor.

I’m from the soft sands of South Beach,
from backyard games and beachside
barbeques. I’m from the before—
and the after and the now.

I’m a mountain girl in the magic city,
bred with frijoles, sancocho and Burger King.

I’m from roll your tongue, m’ija, ole, niña.
I’m from enunciate your words and sit up straight,
from no te madures biche, even as I brushed
blush in my school bus’ backseat.

I’m from shattered glass and broken
dreams, from Papi don’t scream and
Mami don’t cry, from walks beneath a
bleeding sky and sueña con los angelitos.

I’m from buñuelos and natilla, from
novenas and Noche Buena and
from don’t you dare forget
where you came from.

Homes © Bob Betzen (

Finding Home

By Shari Green

I used to think home was a house
with wood siding
three bedrooms up
and another in the basement
where my brother hid secrets
under car parts
and angry music
but then a voice said
look closer
and I thought maybe home
was two parents
four kids
and a dog
because we could go anywhere
in our beater red station wagon
anywhere at all in the world
and we’d belong
with each other
but the voice said
look closer
so I thought
maybe the places we traveled
were home
maybe my country was
or the whole earth
or even
the galaxy
all of it somehow
my home
and the voice said
seriously dude
look again
look closer
so I looked at the world
from the back seat of a station wagon
looked at the world
from a three-up one-down house
and looked
at the world
and when I stared into the eyes
of the strangers I met
and saw my brother
my sister
my parent
my child
I knew
I’d found home.

Colors of My Home

By Fatima Younis

When I came home,
I fell in love with the red, white, and blue,
proudly wrapped it around myself
like I wrapped that scarf around my head.

All I knew was that red, white, and blue
meant home as much as my scarf did.

I never thought
that lovely red, white, and blue
didn’t match with a scarf around my head.

I was told they didn’t go together
and I believed every lie I was fed,
so I slowly unwrapped that red, white, and blue,
my face burning red with shame.

I didn’t belong.

I was in a boxing ring,
always one step behind my opponent,
taking hit after hit after hit,
my face bloodied and swollen, my body sore.

There was no home for me anymore, not now.
I was just drifting, looking for a place to call mine.

Alexandra Peñaloza Alessandri is a Colombian-American poet, children’s author, and professor at Broward College, where she teaches composition, creative writing, and U.S. Hispanic/Latino Literature. She received her BA and MA degrees in English Literature from FIU and a Certificate of Fiction from UCLA Extension. Her poetry has appeared in Vox, The Acentos Review, and the Rio Grande Review. She lives in South Florida with her husband and son, dreaming of Colombia. For more about Alexandra, visit



Shari Green is the author of two novels in verse. Her latest book, “Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess,” launches in May 2017. Visit Shari online at





Fatima Younis is a Muslim teenage girl who is all about changing the world with her writing. She has been writing since she was a little kid, and it is one of her greatest passions, along with playing hockey and being outdoors, of course.

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