Dear beautiful writers and readers,

The following poem is one previously published in Crossroads III, our annual anthology from last year. In the following months, we will be sharing one piece a week with you, bringing back some of the wonderful pieces that were featured in Crossroads III. Enjoy, and thank you Batula!

Where I am From
Batula Hassan

I am from the jammed streets,
From the burning sun and the dirt roads.
I am from brick and dirt houses lined in a never ending row
(Brown soil all over the floor
And coming through the cracks of the ceiling)
I am from the dark nights,
Peaceful and cool.
Isolated but mobbed with thoughts.

I am from crowded farmer markets and smiling faces
From Talaso Haji and Nurto Noor
I am from tailors and lovers
From determination and love
I am from long tailored dresses and skirts in many colors,
Filled with stunning designs and patterns.

I’m from Kenya,
From extremely hot days and cool nights
From Samosas and all kinds of luscious fruits.
From the toe my older sister lost
To burning hot molasses,
From getting oatmeal all over my uniform
And singing way too much in school.

Ripped into pieces and gone with the wind,
Are all of the pictures of us.
The pictures that showed us laughing
And simply enjoying life.
Gone the pictures are
But forever are the memories,
I am from the joyful days
From the days full of soccer in the hot sun,
Everyone knowing each other
Playing outside at night with the neighbors
Celebrating Eid after a long Ramadan

I am from the Hassan family
From our peaceful mother,
Hilarious father,
Intelligent Ijabo,
Funny Tuuma,
Silly Nimo,
And calm Mahamed.