A Portrait of The Artist As a Young Black Girl (II)

II. WHERE SHE WAS FROM

She lived in many places,

And made friends where’er she went.

They often touched her kinky hair and asked,

“So where are you from?”

And though Markham was the answer,

Because that was where she was born,

Her schoolmates shook their heads and asked again.

“Where are you really from?”

She thought maybe England was the answer,

Because her mother was born there,

But no, that too was wrong.

She did not know where she was from.

She asked her mama that night,

Who said she had Antiguan roots,

Grenadian too (on her father’s side),

And African roots from her ancestors,

And when she was older,

She could have a British passport,

So then she might be English as well.

She told her friends the next day,

About all the places she was from,

They shook their heads and told her no

Because she was too many things.

So she chose to be Canadian

Before she was anything else.

But when she was home,

Where it was warm and free,

She allowed herself to be more than one thing,

Because there was no one around to judge.

It made her wonder sometimes,

If maybe her friends were right.

How could she be from all these places,

And be each one authentically?

Or at least, possibly,

pass convincingly,

To avoid that same old question,

“Where are you from?”

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