A Way to Understand Where I'm From

I’m grateful for a new friend’s suggestion to build a "Where I'm From" poem (see https://www.sausd.us/cms/lib/CA01000471/Centricity/Domain/3043/I%20Am%20From%20Poem.pdf) to help me focus my often dreamy ambitions. What emerges in the poem (which only took about a half hour, and I am no student of the genre) are my deepest sources of identity: the diversity of nature and culture; family; peace; and a healthy balance.

I am From


I am from a fruit tree

Of Panamanian bananas.

Then from the suburbs, cross-country,

Living in mostly drab houses, except for my parents’ contemporary, custom-built home.

I am from their well-intentioned teachings of service, book-learning and not giving up.

I am from their privileges and their love.

And Mom’s Lebanese roots.

Boutrous. Nassif. Attiyeh.

I am from that speech therapist and her white psychiatrist mate,

Who both care.

I am from a cautious, kind family,

Maybe to a fault.

I am a spiritual hodgepodge.

I am a salad, whiskey.

From the two tries it took Grandma to immigrate

To the mystery of Dad’s birth parents.

Our diaspora means scattered memorabilia,

So we take photos, preferring to leave no trace.