Origin Story

Kaya Lattimore was born in Hobart, raised in the Philippines, and now lives in Canberra.  As a person of mixed ethnicity, her identity has been questioned by others all her life.  Kaya writes to express, explore and ultimately reclaim all facets of her identity and lived experience.

I am from southern islands.
I am from migration, from tides low enough
to walk on sand bars across countries.
I am from the curved horizon, from the sudden
descent of dusk, hazy as smoke.
From hands rough as palm tree bark,
from the young green coconuts, fresh as seawater.
I am from my mother’s crowded mouth, her
crooked teeth and many accents; from my father’s folklore
and five languages. I am from a dusty town, from handfuls
of kin, their history and blood.
I am from rice paddies and floods.

I am from brown-skin summers.
From native tongue and too-good English;
I am from bamboo borders, the hallowed crossing.
From ancient rivers with Antarctic-ocean veins, from
a mountain-walled city and my many names.
I am from the culture shock, a mouth too crowded
with language to speak.
From blue passport and airplanes,
from the “where are you from?
I am from the waiting.
I am from unlearning every word for home.
I am from my oldest memory, this chameleon skin.
I am from the roots where every story begins.

© Kaya Lattimore, 2018