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  • I am from magnolia trees

    From colorful Christmas lights illuminating the walls at pre-dawn

    I am from crashing ocean surf and hissing sand

    And scrambling over precarious rocks

    I am from mountain peaks swallowed by clouds

    Chuckling streams

    From cat eyes shining in the dark

    And the chirp of cicadas on a baking hot afternoon,

    When not a breeze stirs

    I am from the greasy, spicy aroma of chicken wings emanating from the house,

    As I snack on a full harvest of cherry tomatoes

    From gnawing on a salted bone

    And oysters, slip-sliding down my throat with the tang of the sea

    I am from jars of chickpeas and bags of walnuts

    brought across the ocean from Antalya

    I am from a velvet rocking chair having seen many homes

    and many years,

    Crafted by my great-grandfather

    And from a jar of colorful down, collected from past parakeets,

    Reliving their memory

    I am from Beaver Brook, frigid, rushing water numbing my bare feet

    As I balance on wobbly stones

    From the crumbled stone wall that stood in a playground that no longer exists,

    Where I found the Golden Shoe

    I am from spying from tree limbs on unaware passersbys,

    and from the feel of sweaty mats beneath my feet

    And sand-filled bags reeling back from a targeted kick

    I am from the Ancient Beech tree at the corner

    standing hunched yet majestic and eternal,

    scarred where past generations had carved their names into the gnarly bark

    I am from my Grandfather, bent down in sweltering heat,

    Laboriously digging ditches for beans in rocky mountain soil

    And from dad’s plaid shirt and musty aroma of whiskey

    Tending to sizzling pans and bubbling pots, radio blaring

    I am from Grandma’s stories, as we sit on the balcony cracking hazelnuts

    on a humid night, filled with the chirp of crickets and light from a golden moon

    I am from Mom’s warm hugs and the dreaded “Vacuum your room!” and

    “What are we going to get done today?”

    I am from peeking through holes in blanket forts

    walking aimlessly through cool evenings

    and the sweet, sweet fragrance of a Sirius flower,

    deciding to open for just that night

    I am from glittering lakes, watching loons pop up

    and disappear again,

    My ears filled with the lulling whisper of my oar propelling through water

    I am from noisy cities with winding streets

    lined with colorful shops

    displaying guitars and beads, and boys hawking steaming corn

    I am from praying at dinner time, wishing we’d hurry up as I smell

    Something delicious right beneath my nose

    And from a mouthful of mulberries,

    my fingers stained purple

    I am from aching knees forced to keep moving up

    and down uneven slopes

    from slipping through green forests,

    trying not to make the leaves crackle,

    Making sure to have climbed every rock and log

    I am from rice cakes in the rain

    And from borrowing through a sheet of fresh fallen snow

    Half-sorry to disturb the perfect whiteness

    I am from fits of giggles, from astonishment, excitement, despair and frustration

    I am from Nature

    I am from the patchwork of my past, present, and future

    This is where I'm from

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