Lost in State Lines


Cassidy Krisman

They always ask – “where did you grow up?” or “where are you from?”


I struggle to answer both of these, in all their infinite responses.

But the second is the question that makes me stare hopelessly at the sky for answers. 

Could the clouds help me learn more about myself?


“Where are you from?”

It’s a curious question, because it’s supposed to be easy to answer. 


But this is complex, and not something that can be fully understood in the small talk 

of two strangers standing several feet apart, waiting for their coffee while rain pours down outside. 


None of us are from the same place. 

Sure, in another life we both could’ve been born in a small, unheard-of town in Illinois but 


my origins do not fit between any state lines.

I was not made in shapeless, invisible borders of land 

because I am not from the random hospital building I am told I breathed in for the first time. 

I believe a birth certificate does not hold much meaning, as far as identity.

My origins run deeper than any city name or slip of paper ever could.


I think of my mother, because truly I am from her. (Not just physically, but because I was raised in her values and protection.)

So maybe even more so, her mother. I hold my grandmother’s qualities closer to my veins 

than all the small towns and streets that I have temporarily called “home”.


I have never had a home, not even in my own heart. 

But I wouldn’t call this unfortunate because I have instead made my homes in people.

Even the most seemingly perfect plot of land can’t come near the homes and safety I have found in the souls of my loved ones. 


I would rather visit the cemetery than the hospital where I was born. 

Maybe that’s morbid, but ashes and gravestones  

hold so much more than a patch of grass I don’t remember playing in as a toddler

or the road I once scraped my knees on.