Okay, so the poem technically went live in print back in April, but yesterday it dropped online for the first time, available to all.
This poem is by far the most personal thing I’ve ever written and the feelings I get seeing it in print, online, shared with the public are intense. The piece went through a couple of re-writes before I was able to hammer down what I even wanted to say…it was an instance of having too many unsorted thoughts about a topic I had never really tried to pin down before now.
I guess poetry is the therapy I get paid for going through?
I’ve gone off before on what it means to be a trans-racial adoptee and how complicated an existence it can be and how often, other people’s ignorance can make it worse. There are countless different ways to find belonging, but there are some that, without the anchor of family, history and heritage, that simply can’t be reached. I’ve had friends ask me what the big deal is: I had adoptive parents, I know more or less where I was born, I live in the age of information, can’t I just look up information about my heritage and ethnicity? What’s it really matter, anyway? I shouldn’t be bound by family history, I’m my own person, can be anyone I want.
But it’s so much more than that. There’s so much information people take for granted, so focused that they might not even think about it unless they have to. I don’t know my birth information, how big, how much I weighed. Was I premature? Late arrival? I know nothing of my medical history. What might I be at risk of? What did my mother pass down to me, my father? Is there a ticking bomb in my biology that I won’t know about until too late? What about my mental health? Would I have gone through all the issues I had if I’d known what to expect? What’s still waiting?
Not that it’s needed. I’m still a fully realised human being without any of that information, but it matters. It matters. And sometimes, I just need to acknowledge that it matters.
I’m grateful to Julia Rios, Pablo Defendini and the Fireside team for believing in this poem and their willingness to give it a space to exist in the world.