I am from the tents

         the ones we made from

         warm blankets and

         wooden chairs

I am from the salt

         the handfuls I’d eat,

         daring myself, blaming

         the result (stomach aches)

         on my friends (not a good idea)

I am from the vocab books

         my sister’s list of 20 words

         where I decided

         my future profession:


I am from the cold

         my chilly nose hiding underneath

         the tall plastic Christmas tree

         three days

         before my anniversary

I am from the music

         the loud beats of drums

         echoing out of speakers

         at the house parties where

         I’d simply sit and listen

         without rhythm in my movements

         only my mind

I am from the strong

         the guidance I received

         from the powerful women

         in my life

         that helped to make me a leader

I am from the darkness

         the blackness

         inside my bedroom

         speaking out to friends

         from under the covers:  

         giggling, laughing, crying

         the conversations

         that we’d never remember

I am from the Hail Mary’s

         and the hallowed be His name

         and the verses encrypted

         into my mind

         ever since the day

         I was born

I am from the words

        the sentences that I would say

        that flow from my mouth

        like music from song sheets

I am from the laughter

         the GameCube and Bratz dolls

         the screensaver of Windows 95

         that I had spent hours

         just sitting there


In the torn pages of my diary

         my memories remain

         pouring out like a waterfall

I am from that era

         the era of the fake tents

         and stomachaches

         the era of the architects

         and the Christmas trees

         the era of the rhythm

         and the empowerment

         the era of the late night talks

         and the Bible

         the era of the beautiful phrases

         and the entrancing maze

And these memories

         will forever be a part of me

         and will always define me

         until the ends of time


This poem is about: 
My family
My community