Maggie Denton

Having It Backwards

Growing up
in a dense
city, solid
brick buildings,
the street
going one way,
and down its
side streets,
streams of
change: the
generations of
delis, cobblers,
pizzerias. I was
a New Yorker,
my identity
sewn into subway
trains, savvy
taxi drivers,
buildings that
each other, the
Bronx Zoo.
Later living
in L.A. I was
a California girl.
I was the spawn
of palm trees, of
“I was there”
Northridge earthquake
T-shirts, of easy,
breezy, laid back
Venice Beach
boardwalk strolls
where mimes
played like
my identity
born out of
sunny golden
And so it went.
streets, states,
houses, patinas
and swathes
of cities
out of which
I grew myself.
I stepped
in tune to
their drum beats
like an echo, I
was the thrown
shadow of bridges,
styles, regional
accents. It
all gave me
paint strokes
of identity.
I was
a flower
atop roots
of places.
Not until
I grew
into me
did I finally
come to know
I was the root
from which my
life grew
I was the loom
the center
the core.
out of my
own life,
places are
my shadow.

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