I’m from the racks of worn down cleats in the garage, fallen soldiers of a lifelong war.
From lacerated laces, severed shoes, burst balls,
from the net clinging to the frame by its fourth round of zip ties.
I’m from relabeling labels as “quirks.”
From placing the carefully crafted letter, defining autism, in my older brother’s room,
from helping my mom up onto the curb, because curbs aren’t dwarf-friendly.
I’m from my room, which scattered its own laundry on the floor.
From room N107, smiling when physics clicked for me,
from the living room, sharing banter with my dad over FIFA.
I’m from Mom’s meals—bags with “Taco Bell” or “Applebee’s” on them.
From the ball slicing off my cleat just so, for my first Varsity goal,
from skipping into freshman year, finding my feet and friends.
I’m from A+’s and 100’s.
From the relentless expectation to succeed,
from bitterly wondering why I was chosen to be “gifted.”
I’m from questioning—especially myself.
From finding the answer in the racks of worn down cleats in the garage,
in the letter I gave my brother,
in the hand I extended to my mom,
in the quips I shared with my dad.
from where I’m from.