I Am From

Photo Credit Shea Riley

Photo Credit Shea Riley

I am from oval oak table

from jello pudding cakes and coca-cola

I am from white bungalow on brown lawn

sun-lit and dry

I am from the prairie grass, the rolling hills, wide-open roads and acres of bright

The cherry tree whose long gone limbs

I remember as if they were my own — a blossoming miracle every spring

I am from mid-autumn festival, paper lanterns and red pockets

from Jo-Jimmy and Maylin

Chi-yin and Mei-lin

“yeye” and “mama”

I’m from ice-rink making and Cantonese-church going

and from reading and reading and reading, carsick and nauseous after Chinese school.

I’m from thunder thighs and pretty skin

and “moon shining brightly on the ground”


I’m from carols by candlelight

I’m from Yellowknife and Yellow China

lotus-wrapped rice, dumplings and chop-sticks


From the time four-year-old Jon dropped the carton of eggs

and stuffed it all into the garbage can, rag and all

sepia-toned memories in faux leather albums

stowed away in dusty moving boxes


From East-meets-West


guttural tones of mother tongue

clashing against Jane Austen, Victorian sublime

calmed by Christ

and His hands and feet and voice in the storm

JJ Family 1958Maylin family 1956

Adapted by Levi Romero; Inspired by “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon

Posted for shelovesmagazine synchroblog “I Am From”

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