This is where I come from


This is where I come from
Nokyoung Xayasane

Are you Japanese?
Are you half white?

What’s your background?
I have a degree in health science
and professional writing.
No, what’s your background?
Where do your parents come from?

My parents
they come from a place
rooted in joy and loss
where the streets flowed
with water and blood
the air is alive with laughter
and the full-throated groan
of hope dying.

My parents
they come from a place
where bombs fell
and flowers bloomed
screams ripped through the night
and the sigh of breezes
entered an open window
the sound of a thousand
feet running for cover,
the sound of a thousand
hands clapping for peace.

My parents
they come from a place
of astounding beauty
as if untouched
a place of
deafening quietness,
modest dwellings
and open fields
of lush green.

My mother
she sold and bought items
on the black market
to feed her family.
She stood behind wrought-iron bars
and escaped into the night
while gunshots rang
clear and hard.

My father
he taught children
in a schoolroom
with a dirt floor
and a dusty blackboard.
He was a boy
who cried too much
who felt too much.
He learned to harden
his heart, to endure.

My mother
she birthed a child
in a nameless place
a place where people
stand in waiting.
My father
held that child
and dreamed of a place
where his family
could breathe,

They dreamed
of a place
where all people
from all walks of life
could reach out
and embrace their neighbour,
a place where people
could reach out
and clasp the hands
of their fellow brothers and sisters.
They dreamed of a place
where love endures
and fear
is nothing
but a distant memory.

That’s where I come from


  1. Lori Straus · July 8, 2016


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