I am From

I am from
the super,
from sorting waste, renovating apartments,
and long, chilling morning clearing snow.
I’m from the “‘A’s for success,”
but “I can’t help because my English no good”
I’m from respect your elders,
but guests till 12
while my father wakes at 4

But I am especially from the old city in a new nation
from its cobblestone roads
-the hue of broken bones-
whose narrow, crowded paths have supported me
-my feet melting in the gaps with each step-
through slow walks with loved ones.
I’m from the long nights illuminated by stars
playing magarac or poker under the sunbrella.

I am from neighbors who race out their doors
at the mere sound of your voice.
From sitting around and drinking strong, thick coffee
(but hold the coffee)
that blitzes the room’s scent.
I’m from the smells of Bascarsija.
The juicy burek,
waiting to be devoured
by eager fingers.
The morning round of kifle
the shape of the crescent moon
such soft bread
with crust so satisfyingly crunchy
and just enough salt to
make my lips desire the pure water of
fountains which beckon my return.
I’m from cevapi,
cylindrical pieces of meat
with beautiful imperfections,
housed inside samune,
groups of 5 or 10 drowning in a sea of chopped onions;
picture perfect.

I am from the Azhan
filling the air five times a day
from all corners of the city
as people congregate in worship
in houses built centuries ago
and rebuilt decades ago

Before I was born,
in a land across the ocean,
there existed a people
who ran away
as their homes went ablaze.
I am from their hearts,
a future who must help the return
to before the land of blood and honey

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