An appreciation post for:
The eyes that are yours, but also your father’s. With eyebrow’s from Mom. Thank goodness, thank goodness for them.
The lips that are yours, but also your father’s and somehow your mother’s. It must be the way they move like hers when you speak the truth. And stay silent, listening, like his.
The cheekbones that are yours, but also your mother’s and, my goodness-good gracious-your grandmother’s too. A bone structure for a silent film star. Born too late with all the right materials.
The nose that is yours, it is yours and you own it now. Although you didn’t always, because it was large. Or “strong” as mom liked to say. And you’ve finally grown into it (for the most part). So it’s yours-with the bump in the middle and all. And yes, it is also your father’s and somehow you mother’s. Strong, strong and lucky-it parts your face like a land mark- thank goodness for even the things that aren’t perfect in your own eyes.
For ears that are yours, that you hate, that you think-at this point-is even funny to hate them because they are so strange. Who gave you these? Some ancestor from across the pond. Thanks for the laugh, great-great-great-who-ever-you-are.
A face. A combination of luck and genetics, correct camera angles and good lighting. A witch somedays and a damsel on others. Both Juliet on the balcony and the wolf below waiting. Hungry with longing and concerned with the stars. Eyes cast upwards towards the heavens. Paws on the ground digging in.
Thank goodness for all the people who got you here. The ones who left lives they knew. The ones who escaped. Who started over. Who dreamed of you, of a face they would never see-but somehow knew-would come. Hardened hands by labour and tired eyes from long nights. Children’s children’s children-on boats for days and withstanding deep racism and distrust for a thing they could only hope for but not name. “Better. Something, anything better. Maybe not for me, but for my children’s children’s children’s children’s, children’s, children. Maybe not for me, but someday, for you.” Because they chose, you reap the benefits. Because they washed their morning faces, with bones structure similar to yours, in the from icy water from a porcelain basin and opened their eyes, eyes that look like yours (in color or shape, who knows now), to a new skyline; You–girl who stands both feet on American soil and is educated and can work, vote, marry for love, wear crop tops and express her opinions-you have the luxury of taking a late night selfie, showing off your shoulders (one’s like great-great-great-who-ever-you-are, who held the world up on the tossing sea, and the long lines of Ellis island, and the tireless days scrubbing, sewing, working) you get to be here.
And if that isn’t enough material to be grateful then I don’t know what is.