I am made of ships sailed
railroads built for running
from people who work the land and the water.
Those who temper the tide and sow seeds and seams
see we are patchwork in the “american dream”.
Bloodlines strong like backstitches
legacy built on stovetop shrines
history hidden in handmade quilts and childhood anecdotes.
Our resilience is both homemaking and trailblazing.
With motion born of my body
I make those migration moves match that transatlantic tempo.
Here memory dances between boats and borders.
Resistance don’t take no back seat and we all don’t look the same
So say my name, say my name right
Find love at the intersections, but don’t mistake multiplicity for neutrality.
I’m no poster child for problem solving.
No dream so wet of multiple boxes to be checked
nor consolation prize when they say america would never.
There’s no time to play silent saviour nor model minority.
For what is the price when assimilation was the name of the game?
What do we (un)remember when language is lost
before the young are born?
When storytelling is our only way back home.
Nia McAllister is a Bay Area born poet, writer, and environmental justice advocate working at the intersection of art, activism, and public engagement. As Senior Public Programs Manager at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, she creates participatory spaces for creative expression and literary dialogue. Nia’s writing and poetry have been featured on the Poets of Colour Podcast and published in Radicle magazine, Meridians journal, and Painting the Streets: Oakland Uprising in the Time of Rebellion (Nomadic Press, 2022).