Nonfiction

Where Am I From? JVB

I am from panic and confusion in a foreign land, from lights and tubes and surgical masks,

Three months early and only two pounds,

The size of a baseball, snug in my father’s hand,

Jet-black hair and bright blue eyes, a miracle I survived.

 

I am from sharing a room with my brother,

Trying to match his breathing against the sound of silence,

Waking up early just to give dad a hug before he left for work.

Reading alone at recess, chatting with teachers on duty.

 

I am from fantasy and magic and worlds beyond my own,

Swordplay in the basement against friends, and my imagination,

Stories of heroism, death and sacrifice,

Unhinged violence, gore and sadism,

Moments from my great narratives brought to life.

 

I am from the smell of garlic, basil and sweet tomato sauce,

The peppery aftertaste of olive oil,

The soft humming of Italian accordion music amidst the clang of pots,

She knows everyone and everything,

Loving yourself is “Numero Uno” and bacon has vitamin C,

Dramatics, humility, and boundless love all wrapped up within her tiny frame,

Horn-rimmed glasses magnify the windows to a beautiful soul.

 

I am from the forest, the lakes and the rocks,

Ancient wooden faces reveal themselves at the touch of my hand,

The eerie pall of silence after the lone crow cries at dawn,

A romantic golden haze covers all of my memories,

Sunsets staining the evening sky like vibrant swaths of Indian Saris.

I am from the guitar with a passion only growing,

Emotions unleashed in waves of sound,

The callouses harden from dancing on the strings,

Soul pours out, intricate and simple,

Anguished wails erupt, and low growls thunder,

New vocabulary and phrases in this language I continue to discover.

I am from a painful place, one I had never expected,

Heartbreak is not a sledgehammer or a knife in the back,

Rather, a chasm through which all feeling drains,

An empty shell laced with darkness is all that remains,

Time repairs and fills the space,

Scar tissue a constant reminder of what took place.

 

I am from the pencil, the pen, and the keypad,

Words flow from my fingers like shining rivers of light,

Alive in this moment I suspend the past and the future,

Imagination and reality collide into one,

Not sure if I am lost or just finding myself.

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