When Poems Come From Assignments...

I began yellow and screaming, under warming lamps and the professionally dim scrutiny of nurses.

I am from dark, unending wells of love and sacrifice, from eight dollars and a suitcase, the backs of liquor stores, and the registers of Peoples Drugs. 

I am from Bauji's hands and Biji's enormous glasses and smile. I am the product of their open arms and boundless, precise care; one of many.

From melted butter pecan ice cream and Ovaltine in a shallow steel bowl to Coke-Milk and spongy, greasy pizza crust. From my grandfather's white head, white chest, white shorts, white towel, and white sandals as he waited while we held our breaths.

I wore brown boots and stomped through fields of clover. I watched bees' bodies shudder and fail, enrobed in crushed grass. I melted crayons over lines of ants and stared, amazed at how they stopped and died, red, yellow, and burnt umber. 

I am from the tree that burned, from the glass embedded in a friend's knee, thorns embedded in a cousin's tongue, and from my name mown into my neighbor's lawn. I am from the wonder that sparked and sustained a child's absurd cruelty.

I am from the pungency of spice bush, stringy moist roots and ashes. From hours after school in the forest: derelict treehouses, rotting bark, and muddy blind life.

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