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Birthing Home

by Maria Ibarra-Frayre

When I say I’m undocumented
People are always asking me what
It means to be american.
Or at least what I think it means.
As if those questions mattered.

As if land could be owned,
As if I could be bound by borders,
As if american-ness defined me.

Ask me instead what the Huron River
Sounds like in April,
Ask me how I greet the waitress at
Encuentro Latino with a “Yes, I’m here again,
I love this food” shyness.
She is familiar like the sound
Of car pulling into the shared gravel driveway,
The one used by all my neighbors.
My neighbors who text each other
Everytime someone is going grocery
Shopping to see if anyone needs
Anything. Such intimacy, to trust
Another with your sustenance.

I don’t care to know what
It means to be american.
All I know is I have chosen
This land, and this land has chosen me.
After years of feeling like I couldn’t claim
A home, the Earth has opened
Itself to me like a seed bursting.
It’s tendrils wrapping me tight.

Ypsilanti has tangled it’s fragrance
Into my hair,
Anchored it’s spirit
Into the softness of my womb,

And birthed Home.

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