After George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From”


I’m from bookshelves

towering like the 


lining the horizon 

of my city-bound 



a menagerie 

of blinding lights

hordes of 

unwanted tourists 

flashing cameras 

on sticky summer 




piercing honks

a blur of pressed suits

concrete punctuated 

by a smattering of green


Now, though, 

I settle 

on a street that whispers

palm trees 

swaying to its quiet song

white roses 

drinking in 

the sun’s radiant milk


I’m from the smooth tip 

of my lead pencil


I line the 



of a dozen notebooks 


I am found 

beneath the scrawl 

in the margins


But I am also found 

beyond words


in silence


in the meditative rise 

and fall

of my breath

in letting go

of internal chatter 

in gently shutting 

my eyes

into a darkness

of peace


I’m from

the hilly suburbs of Romania

and the once vibrant 

cities of Poland

before the war 


From my grandmother’s 

steaming scarlet borscht 

and my great-aunt’s 

golden kreplach


stars and stripes 

color the flag of my birth country 

and I am found buried in the pages

of its history

connected to a past

my ancestors took 

no part in


I come 

from all of life’s most 

beautiful contrasts