Nice to Meet You, Mariam
I’ve lived 19 years of my life trying to understand my place in this world, but the world has not yet understood me, and part of the reason lies in the fact that I have not yet understood myself. One day I will confidently have an answer to “Where are you from?” like I have an answer to “What’s your name?”. Something that I share with other people, but is entirely unique to me.
I’d like to go back in time.
“Nice to meet you, Mariam, where are you from?”
“I’m from red waters and arid lands fighting to prevail
From sand carried by the East Wind and underneath my nails
From sweets dripping honey down to my elbow
From 4 seasons, 3 seasons, 2 seas, 1 sea”
“I’m from plastic bags that cost 25 cents apiece
From times of war in my homeland,
While living abroad in serenity, and peace
From suitcases and the smell of sanitized tiles
From lists on post-its reminding me how to live, how to breathe”
“I’m from abrupt ends and confusing beginnings
From uncertain losses and temporary wins
From familiar pictures and unfamiliar faces
From cameras spreading out memories too thin”
“I’m from everywhere and nowhere
From a hot balcony under a sun and hot tiles in front of a fireplace
From learning how to swim while still drowning in lisps, slips and stutters
In a sea of languages coming together as one”
“I’m from gatherings bringing together old love and pain
From jet lag, blankets and meals on an airplane
From locked front doors with open hearts
From unlocked doors not there from the start”
“I’m from clay shaped by the callous hands of time and place
From the sun originally, adopted by the moon
I am, now, all new beginnings"
-Inspired by George Ella Lyon’s poem Where I’m From
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