soy de tortillas y tamales
By Tessa Del Pino
i am from tortillas de harina, tacos de chorizo
y arroz con leche.
i am from the fragrance of september harvest
on a cool crisp night.
i am from apple trees
i am from posadas, full lips,
Jesus, Kika and Lolo.
i am from Saturday night pachangas
and drunk emotions.
from “pray your rosary” and “family first.”
i am from La Virgen de Guadalupe
and Psalm 23.
i am from this place before it was this country,
tamales y pan loco.
from dancing el guapango, green plaid Catholic school
jumpers and white blouses with peter pan collars,
from Rosemilk and Love’s Babysoft on Grandma’s dresser.
i am from when grandma’s shrine starting a fire and grandpa’s
false tooth made of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum.
i am from snapdragon borders.
two polyester covered albums sit in mom’s living room across
filled with squares of photos of bandanas and work clothes,
wedding days, and graduation caps,
brightly smiling faces from another time and place.
Tessa Del Pino is a Chicana who grew up, and was educated, in the Pacific Northwest and New York City. She is a lawyer by training, executive administrator by profession, and organizer by habit. She and her family live in Nashville, TN.
Writer’s note: I recently took a non-fiction writing course taught by Gloria Ballard in Nashville. On poetry night, Gloria invited Kory Wells for a workshop session, which opened my eyes to the world of poetry. Kory shared a poem she heard at a workshop by George Ella Lyon titled “Where I’m From.” After reading her poem, Lyons coached participants in writing their poem. Kory did the same with our class. This is my interpretation. Lyon’s method for teaching this poem has grown into an international tool for sharing and creating.
Tiki Tiki invites readers to share their “Where I’m From” poem. Send post to info at tikitikiblog punto com.