I’m from Redwood City, Iris Street, street of boredom and loneliness, street of dread, street of danger, street of drunk, drugged grandmother crumpling to the curb when we pick her up for brunch.
I am from yelling. Humiliation. Rants. Tears. No, not tears. Seldom tears. Rage. Only rage. The tears came late, if they came at all. The weeping. That’s your mother, said my father. Maudlin.
I am from Highland Avenue, sycamore trees with patchwork trunks, flat flagstones with fat salamanders beneath. Forget-me-nots in the springtime. Spongy, green universes with tiny trees nodding in their midst.
I am from the magnolia arching above, casting her petals to the parched lawn below.
I am from yellow kitchen, cat on counter, sunlight reaching in long bars, landing on gold wood floors, illuminating a universe of dust motes that turned and sparkled like jewels but were impossible to catch.
I am from the motes behind my eyelids, shutting my eyes to watch the spirochetic creatures twist and turn, fall fast, and slow.
I am from bated breath, dark room, fear seeping from beneath closed door.
I am from hiding behind that door, from fear coursing through veins, from slanted gaze, from the crack between the door edge and the door jamb, from the memory of a tussle, a baby, a fall. A scream.
I am from Irish writers and politicians, from the “good” IRA, from the pride of the underdog.
I am from ghosts, intuition, premonition.
I am from racism, systemic, overt, complicit.
I am from kisses, pets, boys on the porch, car seats, caresses.
I am from oblivion, the of joy being wanted, desired, taken. Seen.
I am from lost coats, lost keys, failed tests.
I am from pain and joy. Snails, salamanders, shade, ferns, and light.