I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush,
the dutch elm
whose long gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.
-"Where I'm from" by George Ella Lyon
The snippet from the above poem by George Ella Lyon inspired my own
version, below. . .
the land of elephants and cow dung
of human flesh and stench,
pressing against each other in a crowded railway compartment.
From the land of saffron and curry
and Bikram yoga and high-rises,
and chai served in tea-stained glasses
by underage boys' toiling in sweat shops
when they should have been poring over school text books.
Recently, I'm from
the land of high-tech and flash Internet millionaires,
jostling for space with raggedy beggars on crowded sidewalks
and bare-chested men of God chanting "Hari Om" under their breath
as they move stealthily through the crowds.
From the land of Mehendi and Bollywood,
of convent-educated girls and boys,
beginning their lives with an arranged marriage
that works surprisingly well for some, and not so good for others.
From the blood-streaked streets of Kashmir and the constant fight
over what territory on the map belongs to whom,
from the land of the Hindus, the Muslims and the Sikhs,
each taking their turn to slit the other's throat
in the age-old battle of "divide and conquer"
taught to us by those clever Englishmen.
From the land of one billion people,
some so famous;
they will have their own notation in the Guinness Book of
Others, whose lives mattered so little, they were smothered at birth,
their only crime that they were born a girl.