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I am from old blankets,

from Animal Planet

and Walmart clothes.

I am from the dandelions

In my yard.

The maple out my window

That woke me up at night.

I am fireworks and fights,

From my mother Sara,

my father Sean

and the Madays.

I am from the cigarettes

In my room,

And the dirty dishes in the sink.

I’m from “I love you” and

“I want nothing to do with you.”

I am from the great creator.

I’m from Ashland, ramen noodles and soda.

From the father with a gun

And the hate in his words.

And the love from my mother.

I am from the black chest in the basement

Filled with miscellaneous

Items from my past.

I am from those moments

in my pasts that haunt me

but at the same time I cherish.


I am from music

From The Beatles to Nirvana.

I am from the cat infested farm

Filled with childhood memories

Once beautiful, once ours.

I am from the crabapple tree

The lavender bushes

Whose scent surrounded me on the day of my birth.

I am from PlayStation and addictions

From Whitebird and Merrill and Johnson.

I am from law breakers and runaways

From “It’s all your fault” to “You’re safe now”

I am from spirituality

But that’s where it ends.

I am from St. Croix Falls and Ashland

Wild rice and fry-bread

From the death threats from love ones

Forever cut into my thoughts

The dishonor

And the long line of my mother’s lovers.

I am from the question of my worth

The proof of my youth lost

Between the paranoid relocations

The pictures worth nothing now.

I am from these moments

Which make me who I am today.

I will rise up again

From ashes to dust

In adolescent resilience.


I am from dark chocolate

From the cacao seed and dove.

I am from the wood on the garage floor

It’s sharp, rough and it smells so fresh.

I am from the rose bush the sweet aroma in the air

the thorns that protect me

from the fears and dangers that could harm me.

I am from Hispanic food and love

From Jonathan and Kelly.

I am from the risk takers

and the loving parents

from starting a new leaf and

I am from no religion.

I am from Antigua in Guatemala and Ireland

blueberry pancakes and enchiladas

From the daddy daughter dance

my dad told my sister to wear a dress

from the embarrassment my sister had.

I am from the family picture books

at my grandparents house

remembering my memories and adventures

This is who I am


I am from jeans, from Levi’s and Lei.

I am from the paint, its wet all over the walls

It starts to smell like burnt wood.

I am from the roses, the daisies.

I am from Christmas, and the happiness

From Jessica to bobby all the way to Wesley.

I am from the cooking and baking we do.

From “Stop moving” to the “Drink your milk” they all say.

From believing is the science of evolving from other animals.

I am from America where the steak and the chicken that we are known for.

From the finger my uncle almost cut off by trying to skin his deer,

From the cat that is turning 144 in cat years,

And the fingers my little brother broke in a car door.

I’m from the walls in the house I live in.

I am from the short moments when a new mother sees her child for the first time.


I am from the bullets of a Smith & Wesson pistol- BANG! BANG!

Where did she go, who did she hit?

I am from the violent hoods and the silent homes with they who hide,

I am from the fire that intensifies, bringing light to their eyes,

I am from hustlers and fighters, from these gashes that heals infinitely they are the survivors who made me.

We are broken yet no one can demise us.

I am from the Gales to the York’s ultimately I’m Gale and Mouth, I’m the seed they planted from the soil of purest grime, and I will rise into the grand Oak.

I am from wisdom and rebellion, wasn’t born into failure, we grow into supreme intelligence. They scream to me “give them mercy, for who else will”

I am from my mother’s words “Don’t be careless, be kind to them”

I am from my father’s sharp words “You gotta hustle”

Watch me tend from the dirt and sweat, my ancestors bleed. I am from the cotton fields and rice lakes my ancestors slaved to receive grace.

We will never forget our world before the pain, ashes of the peace stained into my DNA.

I am from Yahweh, Who gives me strength to rise up and be praised. I am from the voice he gave to me.

I am from the Matthew prayer engraved into my brain:

Our Father who art in Heaven. Holy is his name, thy is his kingdom come, they shall be judged on earth and blessed in heaven, give us this day our daily faith and forgive our debts & forgive me, as we have forgiven our debtors and lead me not into temptation but deliver me from my evil within, for I forgive man and their trespasses Yahweh my father will you bless my mistakes?

I am from the never ending mountains of his grace.

I am from the soul of Africa and from the gold of Cambodia.

I am from morning bah-baul and my great grandmother’s famous heart baked biscuits. I could never leave you tasteless.

I am from the misadventures of Aeng’s WWE training, to emotional draining, remember the rolling and tumbling in the dryer, bruises and cuts forever staining, but look at me I made it!

I am from the photo of the girl in a traditional sari trying to please.

I am from the the picture of a mother in peace with her ‘big baby’ saying cheese.

I am from those moments with the s



I am from dirty socks, from Grape Kool-Aid and Urine Remover.

I am from the broken screen door, rusted over and shattered feels like nails on a chalk board.

I am from the rose, the cactus who uses their spiky ends to protect their inner self.

I am from cutting my hair every time a family member dies and violence, from Pops, Nana and Mother.

I am from the hotheads and goofies.

From “Kids being made by watermelon seeds” and “I brought you into this world I can take you out.”

I am from the Great Spirit and not talking much about religion.

I was born in Minneapolis\\St. Paul but I am from The White Earth Reservation, cabbage and noodles and fried bread.

From the story of my dad was a no good druggie, the hardworking man he was most of the time and my brother who reminds me of my dad at times.

I am from inside the family cabinet, my grandma’s old moccasins and dream catchers, believing in the power to protect me from bad dreams and spirits and reminding me of my Native Heritage.


I am from music boxes

From Netflix and bacon strips

I am from the creak of the old wooden door

I am from the dust of dandelions

Sprinkled in the backyard

I am from pot roast and 50’s music

From Khulan and Voglands

I’m from the prideful hearts and the hand-me-downs

From “Cheer up, buttercup” and “Life will get better”

I’m from the hymns of “Amazing Grace”

To the many verses I’ve memorized

And the old tattered Bible on my mother’s chair

I’m from Mongolia and the sleek backs of the wild horses

Mashed potatoes and fried chicken

From crazy Grandma Jan who has little too much to drink

The hearing aid my father used

Because he was slowly going deaf

I am from the photo I found in a gold locket

The class ring my mother bought

White snowy landscape on a sparkling Christmas night

I am from those moments

Good and bad

The ones who have shaped me into who I am

Preparing me to spread my wings and fly


We believe that our kids have stories worth listening to.

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