by Iris Straube
Soy de aquí y allá (I am from here and there),
from Miami, Spanglish and blended Hispanic accent,
de dónde everyone waves two or more flags
and aguacates, mangos, papayas, citrus
grow wildly in every fenced-in suburban yard.
I am de Colombia, Tierra del Olvido,
de Gabriel Garcia Márquez and Carlos Vives,
Amarillo, Azul y Rojo and Red, White and Blue.
from “¿De dónde eres?” and “Where are you from?”,
de Atlantic costa and montañas Paisas, from Luciano y Athala,
Patricia, Javier e Iris, from Jaramillo y Guihur.
Soy de South and North—America, constant trips across the Caribbean,
reverse culture shock, and longing for more time with my primos.
de Sancocho, Bandeja Paisa, Pan de Bono, Arepas and Empanadas,
Pollo Tropical, sandy parrilladas on hot and sticky beaches,
and dump-truck piles of crushed ice in the playground
on the long-awaited “snow day”.
I am from hospitality and, “You’re not staying en un hótel!”,
from giving up my room and sleeping on the floor by my sister Patty’s bed.
I am from airplane aterrizajes shaking our windows daily
en route down the 836 to Miami International Airport.
from the home all my friends chose, my father’s welcoming jokes,
my mother’s “¡Hola Mija, Hola Mijo!” and ¡Claro que sí!”
Soy de Edgar, Maia, Lucas y Noah Luciano,
blended Guatemalan-Colombian-American home,
homeschooling, co-ops, volleyball and soccer tournaments
that take us down the mountain every other weekend.
from Spit games and, “I beat Mama!”, endless books at bedtime—
Siento un pié, “¡Creo que sí puedo!”, The Dangerous Journey and You are Special,
de our growing zoo—Olé y Luna, Fancy Fiona, saltwater fish tank and lots of vacuuming.
I am from surrender and uprooting to a strange and foreign Appalachian land,
fifteen hour road trips to the place I’m mostly from,
thickening and thinning blood and deep longing for a home that eludes me.
from newly-orphaned, sorrow coupled with joy inexplicable,
networking and bridging gaps, from less than 1% minority, Spanish-teaching
and celebrating students’ growing bilingualism.
I am from neither here nor there, fearfully and wonderfully made,
de la sangre running thick down the brow of my Savior.
de “¡Cuan grande es él!”, the certain promise of my longing,
a vision of my earthly father bounding from mystery to mystery,
telling me pragmatically, “¡Ya casi llegaras a casa!”—
“Soon you will be home!”