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WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Author: Katie Moino

A cave hid like a mouth
up the cliff side for those who dared 
to climb the old stairs,
crumbling like a brain
aging,
steep
with recollections  
of travelers and their many stories. 
The stones shivered
into a coat of metal,
shook like a gong each time 
I stepped forward,
a signal to whoever was above 
that someone was moving toward them. 
When I reached the end
a monk smiled there
said, Where are you from? 
I could have said anywhere 
he wouldnโ€™t have known, 
but I answered America 
with honesty.
Americaโ€“ 
his mouth still curved
in a crescent moon.
Have a seat.
I sat on the tongue
of the levitated land
as the stony peaks glistened 
like the pearly teeth 
of a saber tooth
lost to time. 
The man was a calm lake breathing 
on a windless day as he drifted
up a smaller staircase.
His robes were the fog, 
the lifting of invisibility
on our breath as we tilt
back to the shade of changing days,
deeper into the esophagus
on the other side of space.
He stood before an alter 
as a melody soothed the cracks
in his dried autumn lips,
as a wooden stick awakened a drum, 
as I understood the rhythm 
of thanks
for being able to exist
in such a place, 
floating
like misty rain  
over the edge 
down 
to the stream 
and rocky beds 
where later I planned to rest
to bathe in the never ending song
of the landโ€™s heavy chest.

I told him America, 
but as his prayer filled the air
I knew what I really wanted to say
was Iโ€™m from where the leaves on the trees 
kiss the sunโ€™s fingertips in a courting 
and blueberries glisten on the counter
like stars in the morning
and when the snow comes we donโ€™t mind 
for we know these flakes want nothing more
than to grace our faces, 
show us that despite the cold
and pool of shallow sun, 
we can still glow red
like a nebula 
spinning dust 
into newborns.  

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