Thursday, February 7, 2008

Identity Poem - Juliana Tadano

I am from backyards in the east bay,
From De Cecco and Patsy Cline.
I am from celebratory, exuberant, warm, pudgy hugs.
I am from the oak grassland, the honeysuckle, Nonna's front yard walnut tree -
Thick bark and strong low branches for brave girl's scrambling feet.

I am from long debates and longer dinners,
From Julie, young at heart, and Anna, the wise.
I am from drawing together and running away,
From 'Your best is all we ask' and 'We know you can do better.'
I am from First Communion and 'Peace Be With You' weekly, then
just the Holy Days, and now only for the dead.

I am from Concord and Caserta, beer bread and mortadella.
I am from the seed smuggler who left home for her American soldier,
and from the Oakies we don't talk about for shame.
The photos are legion in mass tupperware graves,
The living room frames tell the stories of strangers.

I am the oldest cousin, the 'Number One Grandchild,' the first-born of the first-born.
I am from somewhere in the middle, I haven't met them all. I don't even know all their names.
I am second generation, I am n(x) generation.
On the forms I check Caucasian.

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