The pain comes in waves of nostalgia,
Smells that take me back to the culture
The culture from which my small body learned
To walk; to talk; to eat native food; to sing
Songs of a tongue softly spoken.
Do not dare read my papers and tell me
That I am American.
Whatever my blood or heritage may tell you,
My soul lives in those eastern hills.
Old babushkas still dealing with the freedom,
The right to be a citizen of a free country.
The cold winters that turn the streets into
Sparkling palaces, glass roads carrying me home.
Autumns that cause the space between the sky and the earth
To go on fire.
Warm soups, high castles, and history.
Growing up in a museum, a collection of centuries
Of culture, war, pain, and homesickness.
How can I hope to make you understand,
Why I do what I do,
Why I must go back to the distant land,
The home I love?
Cobblestone roads, memories of ice skating on ponds,
Colors of flowers and ribbons cover the blue skies
And yellow fields.
Let me be as homesick as I am,
As proud as I am of my home,
Of the people who fight endlessly for the freedom to exist.
The identity runs deeper than papers.
Do not take away my heritage.
Do not tell me that I am not completely
American or Ukrainian,
Because I am completely from
Where my heart aches for every day.
I cannot go through a day without a wave
Of longing, waters in soft streams running over me
Warm reminders that I have the dearest memories possible.
God, make me young again,
In the care of my parents, dependent on them,
And unaware that the fight for freedom my people have endured
Was only just beginning.
Day by day,
We wait in watch for the peace,
The return to home.