There are many wooden things in my house,
Wooden picture frames sitting atop wooden china cabinets
With wooden shelves housing more wooden frames.
Our china cabinet is an odd size,
It doesn’t quite extend from corner to corner.
Resting along the back wall,
With a lovely wooden dinner table just a couple feet away
There is just enough room between the corner and the edge of the cabinet.
I learned from a young age that I could squeeze myself between this crevice,
Hidden from the world, an excellent spot, my secret realm,
Nothing existed here but the feeling of my nose and butt
Pressed between wooden cabinet and spackled wall.
California is larger than most people understand it to be.
We grow most of our own produce, in fact I hear we are so self-sufficient enough
to continue our lives without worrying about a food shortage
if California were to ever succeed from the United States.
Water is another issue, though.
It is so large that it feels like two different worlds entirely,
One where my father’s family resides in San Diego
And one where my mother’s family lives in San Francisco
– we don’t talk to them, though –
Heartstrings pulling north, as the Chinese dragons paint the streets red.
It is February and I am scarfing down ha gow, shrimp dumplings.
I am protected behind a floral fan, surrounded by beautiful Chinese people.
My soul yearning for the south, I am enveloped in coconut oil,
skin sparkling like crystal water lakes outside summer camp cabins
This is melanin at its finest.
There is music everywhere, it is Sade smooth and Whitney angelic, I am Lauryn untouchable and Erykah serene.
And yet in the midst of my allegiances,
they tell me I am too much one and too little
of the other, because what is “theirs” is not “ours”
and what is “them” is not “us.”
This is not a Venn Diagram, we are two separate spheres existing on
two separate planes.
All that was red becomes a blur, the crowds thinning, the dragons cease their dancing.
Whitney’s high notes fade out, Sade’s smoothness no longer operating.
I am back where I started, the familiar crevice
Not quite extending into one terrain or another