Heritage

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I come from the place of ice blue mountains that enclose me like crowned walls.

I dream of green forests that smell of possibility.

 

I am the child who found warmth under a gold lamp as I

huddled with musty books beneath a gray cloud blanket.

 

I come from a house filled with singing, shouting.

Laughter in one breath, tears in the next.

 

I come from a proud line of women

with bright eyes, large hearts

power and beauty grasped in each hand.

 

I come from a clan of mothers who fight for their children

hold on to them tightly, and never let go.

 

My world comes from music, rhythm

Beats that move feet into air.

 

I come from cinnamon rubbed with garlic on chicken,

of milk in a pot on the stove when I can’t sleep,

applesauce and lime soda when I’m sick on the couch.

 

I come from a land of soft words, cold hands, and the wish for a friend.

My safe place is the one I built. Made with

Barbies and model horses, plastic tigers and dinosaurs.

 

I come from a series of passport stamps,

riding in the back seat with my brother,

sharing a bed, tasting strange food,

trying to shape the foreign words on my tongue.

 

I come from early mornings spent with my mom

Dry paintbrush in hand

As I fancy I’m painting our Persian carpet.

 

I come from afternoons spent screaming

Wishing my parents would see I was ready to date.

 

I come from fierce love and overabundant piles of words.

From snow’s fresh excitement and summer’s fleeting glory

Twined in emerald grass and sapphire lakes.

 

I come from dozens of cousins who fill my family

With babies and noise and drama drama drama.

 

I come from a world as broken as it is beautiful.

 

I come from a light-streaked darkness where I must let tears pass through

I come from living without the answers I want.

 

I come from two parents, two siblings, more good times than bad.

I come from optimism that shoves against winter-black depression.

 

I come from my grandma’s crossword marathons,

my grandpa’s wild garage of inventions.

 

I come from spaghetti all over my face and orange popsicles under the cherry tree.

 

I am the child of all of these things.

I come from a hundred places. I come from my home.

I come from the life that came to me.

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

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