“Where are you from?”


I believe I begin with water,
Some ocean all life came from


I like to think Cape Cod
Is all sunny days at the beach,
Sand between my toes,
And smells I’ve met
But never known


Part of me began in Boston
Another in Anchorage


Rooted in Binghamton NY
Where my family sprouted
Out of CPS and non-alcoholic beer


I come from cousins of all colours
Running around the masjid;


From sweat seasoned mud pies
And unsaid goodbyes.


I come from parents
Armed with degrees
That collect dust on a shelf;
Who try to teach us
To live a life
More than a wall decoration.


I come from mourning:
IHOP Fridays
And Eids with the family


Mourning the safety of babyhood,
Of adventures through the woods


Mourning family members
Swallowed back by foster care.


And mourning the belief that I deserve goodness from the world.


I mourn the idea that you get what you give


I want to believe that so bad
But karma doesn’t explain hurting children
The dangers faced by women
Or why my dad will be the first grandfather
I’ve ever met


Where I come from you must own up to your mistakes


Where I come from
Adulthood begins when you learn
That you can’t get
Someone else’s forgiveness from god


Not even your own