Where I’m From

By: Emme Mackenzie

I am from
the expressions of my people
flattened nose and slits for eyes
leathery skin and cricks in my back
each feature of mine
a reflection of my family heritage

I am from
the calloused feet of my grandparents
step after step they walked towards a better future
flew on their first airplane to the USA
and called California the gates of heaven
a miracle that they made it off of a life’s savings

I am from
the broken Tagalog conversations over the phone
the signal offers us more connection than the similar
blood running through both of our veins
roasted plantains on the dinner table
foreign spices and sun damaged over-worked hands

I am from
half and half milk
split down the middle between two distinct colors, countries
I am from the moment of hesitation before bubbling
in “Asian” under what race I am for the ACT

I am from
the salt of the southern oceans
drying out the culture inside of me
I struggle to hold on to my past
the pieces of me halfway across the world
pieces of myself that I’ve never felt so far away from