you sound so foreign
in my mouth. just a whisper
in my memories. yet you feel
what a difference
two years can make.
all i remember is the scent of
the munnar tea plantations.
the sounds of the river,
in the afternoons, and
my grandmother's rosaries
at night. monsoon nights where
the rain beat the devil in the
sky. masses at holy magi
that i never understood,
the tenderness of my
family's love, the sweet crunch
of gulab jamaan, the tearful
embrace of my grandparents
as i left for america. somehow,
you hold the most painful
and beautiful of
nyan maari, kerala. i've
grown into my own person.
when i left you, i had no purpose.
i was lost, my thoughts fluttering
in the wind with no resting place.
now my tongue cannot form the
dialect it was so carefully taught,
i can count to one hundred in
spanish now, yet i can't remember
ten numbers in malayalam.
i know exactly who i want to be,
yet i can't remember who i
was. but somehow, kerala,
you are still a paradise in the
foggiest of my memories. it entha ithe?
the taste of you will never leave my lips.
will you still accept me, kerala?
i know my feet don't sink smoothly
into your perfectly green grasses.
yet i need you more than ever,
kerala. you are a reminder of my
identity, where i came from, the
source of the most pure beauty
my eyes have ever laid sight
on. every time my feet step onto
kerala soil, i assimilate all the
knowledge i once lost. all the
memories i thought would
disappear. they come back to
life as vibrant as my dreams.
ente pranayam, kerala.
every moon reminds me of you.
This piece is a poem I wrote about how I've changed since I've visited Kerala three years ago and how I've grown in my identity. Kerala is the home of my extended family, and it holds a very special place in my heart. I hope you enjoy!
Biography: Ashlyn Roice is a high school junior from Mountain House California. Her work on identity and social issues has been recognized by Defiant Magazine and the Scholastic National Art and Writing Awards.
Cover photo source: https://medium.com/@keraltourism12/an-aesthetic-beauty-of-a-state-6257cc3e6b