I am From

I am from Grace (Tori Kristen Nichols
                               Grace Lisbog Miraflor)

I am from the Philippines, Heidelberg, Germany and nowhere at all
I am from chamomile and Gluhwein
Sweet roasted almonds and patchouli
Blueberry bagels toasted by girlfriends who stay
I am from pizza and beer, sweet white wine, face melting hot Thai food, and not anything from the sea
I am from my birth mom, my adoptive mom, my twin brother, my 200 white friends and family members, and my soccer team

I am from safety, both external and internal
From schools without metal detectors
From seeing myself in a textbook
Where the scores on our  tests don’t produce our prison beds
Where our skin, size or status aren’t death sentences

Where no one looks down on flipping burgers, turning tricks or staying quiet
Because there is nothing undignified about simply surviving
I am from culture that uplifts you if you were born in a body that doesn’t match your brain or your heart
Or if you are an educator who believes in the power of art
I am from a country that welcomes you if you were brought here by people who believed In an American dream
Where the presence of Obama and Oprah
Don’t justify boys being shot in hoodies while Black
A place where people REMEMBER their common humanity not only before they shoot but before they speak
Where we got more than tweets protecting us in the streets

I am from justice in my own body; feeling comfortable in my own skin
Where joy is not foreboding
Where I can revel in a moment of peace
And I can sing without my throat being tight

Not anticipating the next moment I’m sent into fight or flight
I am from a place where the hatred thrown with the word faggot burns with a bundle of sticks
Where the “reclamation” of oppressive words is not necessary
Where our cultures are not stolen from us and sold back to us appropriated

I am from erased and embraced gender when needed
I am from lovers who are never secret
I am from a place where we don’t have to break hearts to open them

Which shores must these icy waves meet to melt?
To make the rise and fall less cold and cumbersome
The pull of the moon shimmer
     Sing softly to the Sun
Dissolving the echoless clang of a splintered self

And when our hearts are broken, we listen
That the shattering of one mother’s heart sings the same sorrow of another
That both the murdered and murderer are always someone’s child or lover

I am from hearing heartbeats under brokenness
From seeking solution even when it hurts
I am from reconnecting, believing in ourselves and in each other
I am from the womb of our mother
I am from Grace