An Uncertain History of My Life

by Nirvana Yarger

My family hails from India, and within each square mile
of the seventh largest country in the world
is contained a burst of colour and warmth.
With the Indian diaspora, those who I can call my kin
reached a round dozen of nations and I, with a million cousins,
sprouted in the fertile soil of the Indian community.
My heartbeat is a dhol and my blood is honey, and
my skin, my hair, my language, my name,
draw me forever closer into the arms of the ancestors who live in the mountains
of my memory; our memory.

Perhaps I lied.

I’m as white as a bone and grew in a facility.
My blood is just blood and its pressure is measured by a paternal nurse.
My tongue is depressed by a maternal doctor who peers at my dry throat
and my pale tonsils. I will never know how I got there.
My family are the scratches on the surface of the photographs
I stick to the wall of my cell and I draw myself a set of siblings
in dark brown crayon. Sometimes I scratch lines of colour on my arms
but they disappear on the hour. I am given hot water to drink
and I choke on it.

Or perhaps I lied again.