I Am From

I am from the living room sofas;

A stage where dancers come to life and lights darken;

Where the show starts once the doors close.

from Bustelo and Cocoa Butter;

Staples for survival;

Even now the obsession never leaves.

I am from the extraordinary Blackminican tree

and coconut cola garnished with a dash of Sazon and Louisiana.

 

I am from the tomato

whose life kept my abuelita going and always made the party glow

I am from the slots that made my mama laugh,

The wigs passed on from prime to prime.

 

I am from the house by the bay

where doggies did what doggies do

Neighbors knew nothing new

And pitches, parties, and playful pings sounded

Kailey, Keith, Kiarra, Daniel, Dan, Jake, John, Ian, Bram, Tom

Mr. Cool and Mr. Officer

Not to mention, Mr. Idiot

The block’s trouble master

All together a familial extraction.

 

I am from baked macaroni and cheese

from an olive branch given at the dinner table after church

I am from Moraima and Minnie;

When gone all was lost and found

and from mirror obsessors and delayers

from early morning breakdowns

And neurotic tendencies

Blackminican me all year round.

 

I am from lunch with strangers;

Not really strangers, family all the same.

from hog maws and sancocho;

A first love and a new beginning;

The taste extraordinary, but idea failing;

A bigger piece of roots.

from Puerto Rico to the U.S;

A new commitment;

Without it an admired patriarch wouldn’t exist.

and from one bus ride to a dress and a pound sign

A whole new love is shown

 

I am from Keys,

Franklin,

Yankee,

And the Notorious

to Nicky Olivicad Jamin’ to the Jagged vibes of the F.A.B.O.L.O.U.S Queen Daigle

 

I am from Ari and Juni and the rest of the gang

The bedtime companions my parents wish I would abandon,

But I vow to carry with me

School, the 99 cent store, Sandy Hook, Aunt Sophie’s, Pops, Florida, Nicaragua, University

I am from the moments on the stairwells filled with sleep deprived laughter

From the summertime sleepovers in the late night heat

From the Tightwad Tuesdays at Frank’s

From the “Mom’s gone! Hit that radio.”

From the 3 p.m on a Friday karaoke party to Pop’s house

From the Friday night champion scrabble matches

From the Saturday night horror movie marathons

To the Sunday evening recaps back on the sofa

 

I will be from the child in South Africa

The woman from the Caribbean islands

The man from the next town over

The entrance to their path

The paper for their speech

Where Sunday nights included dinner with the Davis 6

Roomies for life with Yaji and Brody

Named Best Titi in the Universe

Schooling certain soda addicts on health

 

I will be Kiarra Catalina Nelson

Daughter of the King

Letting go

Going with the flow

My path is already drawn out for me

No worries.

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