I am from...

By Zechariah James Towner

I am from America.

Land of the immigrants

where traditions come to die.

            I cannot speak the tongues of my fathers

            So I no longer know this that they once knew

But from this death all things are born a new

            Or so they say


So from the fifth generation remains of an Irish, Scottish, English family

            There is me.


I am from southern California where the sun burns my pale skin but the ocean is cool and salty.


From a kitchen my father learned through poverty and his time in India

            Onions, rice, beans, and dal all stew in my pot.


From a bedtime full of fanciful stories that kept me awake and wondering

when they were meant to calm me down.


From a family where family meant a lot

Even if we lived so far



What’s a ten hour drive to see grandma?


I am from religion


And though I did not choose it its teachings will forever weigh upon my mind.


You are not your past but it is the foundation that will shape you… or so my mother used to say…


I am from a generation told we were all special

All impossibly perfect.


From a mother who thought this too.

                        She game me my name


                        Believing it gave me purpose.


                        Who’s to say she was wrong?

                        Not I.


For I am from a home where words have power

                        My father is a professor after all

Where you watch what you say because sticks and stones may break your bones but words can do far worse.


                        I know to be true.


I am from the places behind me

The friends that are gone

And the things I survived

                                    Many of them just barely.


I am form here and there and all over the place

But certainly not from everywhere.


I am collecting my past as I roll along

Piecing my cloth together

Always heading some direction

                                                            But to where?

                                                            I do not know.