where i'm from

Middle Name Mag - Friday, June 16, 2017 

I’m from counting spoken melodies on scalloped fingers,

from watching my breath and countless thoughts unsaid pool in clouds of

white-washed vapor on frigid, obsidian evenings.

I’m from the smell of too many unused notebooks and

how beautiful empty pages really are,

the fresh, crinkled lines waiting to be filled in with

too many unforged similes.


I’m from summers spent cavorting with Billy Collins, Anthony Kiedis, Barbara Kingsolver,

Emily Dickinson,

from heat seeping between twitching toes,

the anticipation of eight stationary hurdles

laying against my conscious like too many sleepless evenings.


I’m from counting out steps between seamless strides,

from driving beneath light-polluted skies,

from the first time I saw the Milky Way,

how it was a puddle of spilled milk and

uncut diamonds,

luminescent against ebony velvet.


I’m from running every morning at eight AM to escape monuments I had yet to construct and

from wanting to write a poem every time I

saw the sun steadily creep from behind Blue Ridge clouds.


I’m from needing to be the best at everything,

from finally God damn realizing that I only need to be the best me I can be.

I’m from eventually learning that love was not about taking,

was not no means yes and every conversation was not meant to be a war of some sort and

what was the end game anyways?


I’m from falling in love with Richmond all over again,

from no longer seeing demons leering from behind closed eyelids,

from remembering that, yes, this is what happiness feels like.


I’m from cultivating and growing,

from accepting the things that I cannot control,

from parallel branches and red roses,

from too many evenings spent over thinking,

wondering what it meant to be not so broken.


I’m from getting a tattoo simply because I needed

to hold on to something permanent again.


I’m from rattling fingers and knocking knees

beneath unforgiving stage lights, just like these,

from learning how to read these insecurities to rooms of unknown beings,

from discovering that poetry is the best form of therapy.


I’m from Cyprus, and Ireland,

from Scotland, and Richmond.

I’m from these words rapidly sewn to a rumpled brochure on a steaming August afternoon,

one of the few days in which I was not attached to my family’s hip,

from ends and beginnings,

from cramped hands and bellies full of laughter.

I’m from wanting greatness and only ever thinking I had achieved mediocracy,

from slowly finding a voice amongst a sea of rolling, crashing personalities.


I’m from so many different, shifting memories,

from stagnant love and undulating peace,

from sky-high expectations,

from always feeling as if I’m just two steps too far behind.


But this is a new evening,

a new beginning,

a new stage, a new see of beings I may never see again.

This is new page in one of the many notebooks lining my walls,

and maybe now,

this is the time to be from something

other than these unsure perspectives.


-emily johanna

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