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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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