2022 Celebrate America Creative Writing Contest Winner: Where I’m From

Where I come from

I just sailed ships. From my mother’s quilt, finished with orange, green and white. I see each of the strong points that hold it together. From my other house where the walls don’t block the heat from getting inside, like how I can’t feel that feeling outside of me. I remember the antlers of an elk, bone strong and confident, as if they were my own. I come from Máthair, Athair and Mhamó. My red hair, green eyes and freckles match the others around me. And de, “grá do gach duine”, and “déan tú féin sa bhaile”. I hope I will always have a home here.

I am of my favorite red and yellow hijabs. From my great grandmother’s quilt decorated with a single moon and star. Each of the points reminds me of a great love. From my dusty but loving town far away, like how far away my heart feels. I remember the wings of an upupa, the big warm smile, as if they were my own. I come from Waleda, Abi and Jida. My creamy skin, black eyes and covered head match the others around me. And from “الصدق فضيلة” and “كن محبًا ولطيفًا مع الجميع”. I hope everyone loves me and is kind here.

I come from mud roofs above my head. Of my sister’s quilt draped in red and white. All dots look like a happy tear. From my pretty rock collection, all with mixed patterns and colors, like the mixture of my emotions. I remember a tiger’s stripes, fierce black streaks as if they were my own. I come from Okasan, Bàba and Nai Nai. My caramel skin, brown hair and black eyes match the others around me. And of, “kebahagiaan adalah obat terbaik” and “selalu peduli”. I hope everyone cares about me here.

I come from what was beautiful. From my torn duvet in faded blues and yellows. Each stitch gives me more hope. From my wooden box, with my grandfather’s wedding ring hidden in it, as if everything was hidden from the world. I remember the fur of a mouflon, it is a warm and soothing fur as if it were mine. I come from мати, батько and бабуся. My blonde hair, pale skin and blue eyes match the others around me. And from “вас знайдуть” and “надія завжди жива”. I hope there will be hope here.

We ARE America.

The winner of the 2022 Celebrate America contest is Elin Seiler from Illinois. The Celebrate America competition is made possible by the Murthy NAYAK Foundation.

FILED UNDER: Celebrating America