Back Home

“She gave us this gift from back home”
Understanding they are good neighbours, friends even. 
But what her voice and her skin do not say 
is she left this home her country 40 years past. There is no forgetting.  
She cooks one way one day and the other the next,  
speaks to her children in the language for them to access the knowledge, 
the culture. They learn the major tongue elsewhere.  

Uprooted at six months old he lived here for forty years.  
What his voice does not say he tells strangers willingly: I am from there” he smiles and chooses to remember. 
He tells stories and asks for them, 
visits landmarks with his children. 
Did they laugh in school at his name, at his parents' voice,  
until he owned them? Not from here, different” some say, some whisper.  
What does it take to be accepted or tolerated? What does it take  
to not be? A voice, a skin, a remembrance of identity food, people, places, customs? 
Blend in some cannot, would they want it or not, 
a mixture made over time they have a foot over some line,  
drawn with changing references it forgets history and choices. 
Oregon_state_university_flickr
Source: Oregon State University, flickr