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When they ask where I’m from

                 “Someone always asks me ‘where are you from’

                  And I want to say, a body is a body of matter flung

                  From all corners of the universe…

                  Perhaps I am from my words….”

                                  Kazim Ali, from ‘Origin Story’


The belonging poems of Kazim murmur secrets of my own stories, his poet’s

words fill with spaces that linger in the pause, like dragonflies hovering to rest

in a field on the inborn journey back to their beginnings


As he reads my body answers, his voice so gentle it might not even be speaking,

his mouth shelter for monarchs who gather to catch their breath for this year’s return,

my own words and I, old friends huddle together before a perilous boundary crossing.


On the page his words draw tiny connections to this and that, to him and her, them,

yet do not settle on the page, circling always forward, always returning

to that relentless shape of the question mark.


Where does he come from? His words break my own credo into soft release, loosening me

from where my answers speak, cuts me free as they erase me from all the places

that still remember me, and those that have memorized my footprints.


Could he be born of words, Kazim? shaping the where of him, molding english words

into his body, sculpting sanskrit sounds into his vocal cords, Perhaps

I am from my words his curiosity asks again, unbuilding the story of my where.


Maybe that’s why I was from Chicago until I was not, then from Inverness until I left,

now here, not yet from this place for still I am here, becoming a poem of living,

listening for an echo of my welcome home, that certain place I do not yet know.

Perhaps, I, too, am from my words.Sharon Mooney, “When they ask me where I'm from”,

Sharon Lopez Mooney, "When they ask me where "'m from", From Secrets & Myrrors, a poetry anthology", ed.etal, Mortimer Roxbrough, London, England, Jume, 2020

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