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  • Julie Chen

Where I'm From

I am from lukewarm clam chowder by the seaport

from silky qipaos and bubbling rice cookers.

I’m from the sound of raindrops pattering on the windowpane

(comforting,

mesmerizing,

putting me to sleep every night.)

I’m from Marie Elementary

Race Brook School

and four different kindergartens

I’ve forgotten the names of.


I’m from grand pianos and pages of little black notes

from sharp staccatos and dramatic ritardandos.

I’m from folded sticky-notes and games of tag

from scented markers and mechanical pencils.

I’m from house curtains parting on opening night

and applause

and spotlights.


I’m from fluffy pink chiffon dresses and ballet flats now far too small

my grandmother’s straight-out-of-the-oven brownies and icy orange creamsicles.

From my cousin’s Instax Mini photos

she takes every Christmas

the teal-covered diary my brother stole.


I’m from “everything happens for a reason”s and “no one is perfect”s.

I still find it hard to believe those words, but I’m trying my best.

I’m from laughter and tears, hope and despair, successes and failures

but most of all, I am from my own thoughts, my vision of who I am and who I want to be.


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