Where I’m From

I am from ships sailed. From my mother’s quilt, finished with orange, green, and white. I see every one of the strong stitches holding it together. From my other house where the walls don’t keep the heat from getting inside them, like how I can’t get that sensation outside of me. I remember the antlers of an elk, the strong trusting bone, as if they were my own. I’m from Máthair, Athair, and Mhamó. My red hair, green eyes and freckles match the others around me. And from, “grá do gach duine”, and “déan tú féin sa bhaile”. I hope that I will always have a home here.

I am from my favorite red and yellow hijabs. From my great grandmother’s quilt decorated with a single moon and star. Each of the stitches remind me of great love. From my dusty, but loving town far away, like how far away my heart feels. I remember the wings of an upupa, the large, warm smile, as if they were my own. I’m from Waleda, Abi, and Jida. My creamy skin, dark eyes, and covered head match the others around me. And from,” الصدق فضيلة” and” كن محبًا ولطيفًا مع الجميع”. I hope all are loving and kind to me here.

I am from mud roofs over my head. From my sister’s quilt draped in red and white. All of the stitches look like a happy tear. From my pretty rock collection, all with mixed patterns and colors, like how mixed up my emotions feel. I remember the stripes of a tiger, the ferocious black streaks as if they were my own. I’m from Okāsan, Bàba, and Nai Nai. My caramel skin, brown hair, and dark eyes match the others around me. And from, “kebahagiaan adalah obat terbaik” and “selalu peduli”. I hope that everyone cares for me here.

I am from what used to be beautiful. From my ripped quilt in faded blues and yellows. Each and every one of the stitches give me more hope. From my wooden box, with my grandfather’s wedding ring hidden in it, like how my everything is hidden from the world. I remember the fur of a mouflon, it’s warm, calming fur as if it were my own. I’m from мати, батько, and бабуся. My blonde hair, pale skin, and blue eyes match the others around me. And from, “вас знайдуть” and “надія завжди жива.” I hope there will be hope here.

We ARE America.

The winner of the 2022 Celebrate America Contest is Elin Seiler from Illinois. The Celebrate America Contest is made possible by the Murthy NAYAK Foundation.